ABOUT THIS BOOK
In this long-awaited book—the first in a three-volume work—David M. Perlmutter has co-authored and edited ten essays that introduce relational grammar, a novel conception of sentence structure that offers far-reaching conclusions for universal grammar.
The basic ideas of relational grammar can be simply stated. First, grammatical relations such as 'subject of,' 'direct object of,' and 'indirect object of,' are needed to characterize the class of grammatical constructions in the clausal syntax of natural languages, to formulate universals of grammar, and to construct adequate and insightful grammars of individual languages. Second, the range of linguistic variation in word order and case patterns makes it impossible to define grammatical relations in terms of phrase structure configurations or case. Rather, grammatical relations must be taken as primitive notions of linguistic theory.
The papers collected here take up the first of these ideas. They lay out the basic theoretical constructs of relational grammar and discuss three areas of grammar—advancement construction, raising, and clause union. In his introduction, Perlmutter discusses each of the papers—most of which are published here for the first time—and places them in the context of the whole of linguistic study.