Reps and representations: a warm-up to a grammar of lifting
Maria Esipova
April 2021

In this paper, I outline a grammar of lifting, i.e., a system that can generate meaningful, well-formed, and optimal movement patterns in resistance training. More specifically, I describe what the architecture of said grammar looks like, i.e., what levels of representation are needed and how these levels are organized, and, while doing so, I provide some examples of how representations generated at these levels can be modeled formally. To be able to do so, I adopt a goal-based conception of meaning, which allows us to talk about mappings from complex goals to complex surface outputs in systems of human behavior, signaling and non-signaling, interactive and non-interactive, in a unified way. I first motivate the existence of such meaning in lifting and subsequently argue that in lifting, like in language, meaning-form mappings are mediated by syntax, i.e., a level that operates on abstract and non-linearized hierarchical representations. This paper, thus, serves a double purpose. First, it provides further evidence for a universal tendency in human cognition, whereby mappings from complex goals to complex surface outputs are mediated by syntax. In this respect, this paper follows similar architectural claims made for frame sequences in pictorial narratives (Cohn 2020) and for single image pictorial representations (Esipova 2021), but it takes them beyond signaling behavior. Second, this paper showcases a specific methodological approach to outlining grammars of systems of non-linguistic behavior in humans. I take my cue from prior work with similar goals (e.g., Lerdahl & Jackendoff 1983; Hess & Napoli 2008; Katz & Pesetsky 2011; Fruehwald 2016; Patel-Grosz et al. 2018; Charnavel 2019; Schlenker 2019), but I approach the task differently, namely, by focusing on the larger architectural set-up before trying to flesh out any single level of representation in detail.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005908
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted for peer review
keywords: super-linguistics, architecture of grammar, meaning and form in non-linguistic systems, semantics, syntax, phonology
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