For the past decade, the dominant transformational theory of syntax has produced the most interesting insights into syntactic properties. Over the same period another theory, systemic grammar, has been developed very quietly as an alternative to the transformational model. In this work Richard A. Hudson outlines "daughter-dependency theory," which is derived from systemic grammar, and offers empirical reasons for preferring it to any version of transformational grammar.
The goal of daughter-dependency theory is the same as that of Chomskyan transformational grammar—to generate syntactic structures for all (and only) syntactically well-formed sentences that would relate to both the phonological and the semantic structures of the sentences. However, unlike transformational grammars, those based on daughter-dependency theory generate a single syntactic structure for each sentence. This structure incorporates all the kinds of information that are spread, in a transformational grammar, over to a series of structures (deep, surface, and intermediate). Instead of the combination of phrase-structure rules and transformations found in transformational grammars, daughter-dependency grammars contain rules with the following functions: classification, dependency-marking, or ordering.
Hudson's strong arguments for a non-transformational grammar stress the capacity of daughter-dependency theory to reflect the facts of language structure and to capture generalizations that transformational models miss. An important attraction of Hudson's theory is that the syntax is more concrete, with no abstract underlying elements.
In the appendixes, the author outlines a partial grammar for English and a small lexicon and distinguishes his theory from standard dependency theory. Hudson's provocative thesis is supported by his thorough knowledge of transformational grammar.
In English, we use the word "I" to express thoughts that we have about ourselves, and we use the reflexive pronouns "himself" and "herself" to attribute such thoughts to others. Philosophers and linguists call such thoughts, and the statements we use to express them, de se.
De se thoughts and statements, although they appear often in our day-to-day lives, pose a series of challenging problems for both linguists and philosophers. This interdisciplinary volume examines the structure of de se thought, various issues concerning the semantics and pragmatics of our discourse about it, and also what it reveals about how humans think about themselves and the world around them.
This textbook is intended to give students a quick start in using theory to address syntactic questions. At each stage, Cowper is careful to introduce a theoretical apparatus that is no more complex than is required to deal with the phenomenon under consideration. Comprehensive and up-to-date, this accessible volume will also provide an excellent refresher for linguists returning to the study of Government-Binding theory.
"Cowper exhibits the analytical devices of current principles-and-parameters approaches, takes readers carefully through the central elements of grammatical theory (including very recent work), and ushers them selectively into the technical literature. . . . A serious introduction for those who want to know the nuts and bolts of syntactic theory and to see why linguists are so excited these days."—David Lightfoot, University of Maryland
"An excellent short introduction to the Government and Binding model of syntactic theory. . . . Cowper's work succeeds in teaching syntactic argumentation and in showing the conceptual reasons behind specific proposals in modern syntactic theory."—Jaklin Kornfilt, Syracuse University
Drawing on work in linguistics, language acquisition, and computer science, Adele E. Goldberg proposes that grammatical constructions play a central role in the relation between the form and meaning of simple sentences. She demonstrates that the syntactic patterns associated with simple sentences are imbued with meaning—that the constructions themselves carry meaning independently of the words in a sentence.
Goldberg provides a comprehensive account of the relation between verbs and constructions, offering ways to relate verb and constructional meaning, and to capture relations among constructions and generalizations over constructions. Prototypes, frame semantics, and metaphor are shown to play crucial roles. In addition, Goldberg presents specific analyses of several constructions, including the ditransitive and the resultative constructions, revealing systematic semantic generalizations.
Through a comparison with other current approaches to argument structure phenomena, this book narrows the gap between generative and cognitive theories of language.
Early formal specifications of natural language syntax were quite closely connected to the notion of abstract machines for computing them. This provided a very natural means of gauging the relative difficulty of processing various constructions, as well as offering some insight into the abstract properties of the human language faculty. More recently, this approach has been superseded by one in which languages are specified in terms of systems of constraints on the structure of their sentences. This has made complexity results difficult to obtain. This book introduces a way of obtaining such results. It presents a natural and quite general means of expressing constraints on the structure of trees and shows that the languages that can be specified by systems of such constraints are exactly those computable by a particular standard class of abstract machines. Thus the difficulty of processing a construction can be reduced to the difficulty of expressing the constraints that specify it. The technique is demonstrated by applying it to a fairly complete treatment of English within the framework of Government and Binding theory, with the result of showing that its complexity is much less than has heretofore been assumed.
In The Dynamics of Meaning, Gennaro Chierchia tackles central issues in dynamic semantics and extends the general framework.
Chapter 1 introduces the notion of dynamic semantics and discusses in detail the phenomena that have been used to motivate it, such as "donkey" sentences and adverbs of quantification. The second chapter explores in greater depth the interpretation of indefinites and issues related to presuppositions of uniqueness and the "E-type strategy." In Chapter 3, Chierchia extends the dynamic approach to the domain of syntactic theory, considering a range of empirical problems that includes backwards anaphora, reconstruction effects, and weak crossover. The final chapter develops the formal system of dynamic semantics to deal with central issues of definites and presupposition. Chierchia shows that an approach based on a principled enrichment of the mechanisms dealing with meaning is to be preferred on empirical grounds over approaches that depend on an enrichment of the syntactic apparatus.
Dynamics of Meaning illustrates how seemingly abstract stances on the nature of meaning can have significant and far-reaching linguistic consequences, leading to the detection of new facts and influencing our understanding of the syntax/semantics/pragmatics interface.
This volume considers and examines some of the phenomena that have led languages to be considered 'ergative'. Languages considered 'ergative' have only been sparsely studied, and many fundamental questions in their analysis seem at best incompletely answered. This volume fills that void by focussing on some of the basic issues: when ergativity should be analyzed as syntactic or morphological; whether languages can be divided into two classes of syntactically and morphologically ergative languages, and if so where the division should be drawn; and whether ergative arguments are always core roles or not.
Christopher Manning's codification of syntactic approaches to dealing with ergative languages is based on a hypothesis he terms the 'Inverse Grammatical Relations hypothesis.' This hypothesis adopts a framework that decouples prominence at the levels of grammatical relations and argument structure. The result is two notions of subject: grammatical subject and argument structure subject and a uniform analysis of syntactically ergative and Philippine languages. These language groups, the syntactically ergative and Philippine languages, allow an inverse mapping in the prominence of the two highest terms between argument structure and grammatical relations. A level of argument structure is shown to be particularly well motivated by the examination of syntactically ergative languages. A study of Inuit, Tagalog, and Dyirbal shows that constraints on imperative addressee and controllee selection, antecendent of anaphors, and the controller of certain adverbial clauses are universally sensitive to argument structure. Thus, these phenomena are always accusative or neutral, explaining why passive agents and causes can generally bind reflexives. However, constraints on relativization, topicalization, focussing or questioning, specificity or wide scope, coreferential omission in coordination, etc. are shown to be universally sensitive to grammatical relations. Examining just these phenomena, which are sensitive to grammatical relations, it becomes evident that many languages are indeed syntactically ergative, and so must be countenanced by linguistic theory.
This volume combines good scholarship with innovative ideas into an important work that will appeal to a wide range of linguists and scholars.
In Grammar and Discourse Principles, Susumu Kuno and Ken-ichi Takami critically examine recent work in the Government and Binding framework developed by Chomsky, Rizzi, Lasnik and Saito, Huang, Aoun, and others. They demonstrate that this work encounters a variety of empirical and theoretical difficulties when confronted by an expanded range of data. Alternatively, the authors offer independently motivated functional explanations that account for these data and that do not require postulation of concepts like "L-marking" and "blocking category."
Kuno and Takami begin by looking at extraction phenomena, including extraction from complement clauses, the overt subject requirement, and subjacency, and provide functional accounts that improve on the Barriers analysis. Next, they discuss multiple wh questions in English and Japanese, with special reference to why and naze. The authors also examine and ultimately reject the major arguments in support of Larson's "light predicate raising" analysis. Finally, Kuno and Takami discuss coreferentiality of picture noun reflexives and the relation of quantifier scope interpretations, particularly those in sentences involving psychological verbs such as bother, worry, and please.
In this subtly argued book, the authors raise questions of critical importance for theoretical linguists of all persuasions.
Sells provides an introduction to the most important aspects of three major contemporary syntactic theories. A strong linguiustic background is not presupposed, and a brief introductory chapter is included for the nonlinguist.
PETER SELLS is a postdoctoral research affliate at CSLI.
ISBN (Paperback): 0937073148
ISBN (Cloth): 093707313X
Subject: Linguistics; Grammar--Syntax; Government-Binding Theory
The book offers a detailed critique of the economy-of-derivation model of grammar that has emerged within the framework of Chomsky's Minimalist Program. It looks at the conceptual and computational complexity problems as well as the empirical consequences of both global and local economy principles. The book compares the economy-of-derivation model with a local constraint model of grammar that does not invoke conditions on sets of derivations or on possible operations in a derivation. It argues that the pure local constraint model of grammar avoids the complexity problems resulting from economy-of-derivation principles and provides a more satisfactory explanation of the linguistic facts that economy theorists have cited in support of their approach. The local constraint model also allows for a more natural and empirically well-motivated grammatical architecture than the one postulated by the Minimalist Program.
Mixed category constructions like the English verbal gerund involve words that seem to be central members of more that one part of speech. This poses a problem for the standard view of syntactic categories.
This book presents a novel analysis of this and similar mixed category constructions in languages including Quechua, Tibetan, Arabic, Fijian, Dagaare, and Jacaltec. Under this analysis, Robert P. Malouf shows that verbal gerunds share the selectional properties of verbs and the distributional properties of nouns. He further shows that since different dimensions of grammatical information can vary independently, the behavior of mixed categories creates no paradox. These dimensions are in principle independent. However, certain types of mixed categories are quite common in the world's languages, while others are rare or nonexistent. The book discusses how cross-linguistic variation can be accounted for by a lexical categorial prototype. By stating these prototypes as default constraints in a hierarchy of lexical information, Malouf argues that one can bring insights from cognitive and functional approaches to linguistics into a formal analysis, thus building on the strengths of both approaches.
There are multitudes of ways in which predicative constructions can be analyzed. In this book, Frank Van Eynde differentiates between the Fregean and Montagovian treatments of these constructions in order to better understand predicative constructions as a grammatical model. Although he focuses his arguments on English and Dutch, Van Eynde also includes analyses of other Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages in order to better explore phenomena that do not occur in the two primary languages of his study.
"[Ruwet] raises fundamental questions about the place of grammar in the study of language and provides several studies which suggest the possibility that some core data are outside the realm of grammatical explanation. A very remarkable book, in which the breadth of Ruwet's reflection is both challenging and deeply rewarding."—Denis Bouchard, University of Quebec, Montreal
Linguists who work on the Japanese language have disagreed about the notion of subject with resopect to Japanese; many linguists argue that there is no formal symtactic position for the subject in Japanese. Tateishi does deeper research on the surface syntax of the subject, and looks in particular at the syntax of the subject and phenomena which have been treated as S-adjunctions. These two have been identified with each other on many occasions in the history of Japanese linguistics and are of interest with respect to the debate over configurationality in the language, which has been revivedd in different forms following the emergence of the VP-Internal Subject Hypothesis, the merits of which Tateishi discusses at length.
Tateishi's main claim is that despite all the non-configurational characteristics found in the language, Japanese is in a sense more configurational than the so-called configurational languages. Japanese allows more types of hierarchies to be involved in the subject-predicate relation than English allows, as Japanese does not have the same kind of restrictions on the phrase structure as the configurational languages have.
Koichi Tateishi is a professor of linguistics at the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.
How do languages transmit information about the properties of phrases over large structural distances? This is the difficult question raised by the phenomenon of extraction, and while extraction has driven the development of syntactic theory for decades, there is still no consensus on what form the connectivity mechanism should take. A number of recent theoretical approaches share the view that extraction is not a unitary phenomenon, but this monograph offers data that radically undercuts this view. The grammar of extraction connectivity, the authors conclude, is relatively simple, homogenous in construction type, and uniform in the position of the extractee.