Descriptive grammarians and typologists often encounter unusual constructions or unfamiliar variants of otherwise familiar construction types. Many of these phenomena are puzzling from the perspective of linguistic theories: they neither predict these “anomalies” nor, arguably, provide the tools to describe them insightfully. This book analyzes an unusual type of relative clause found in many related and unrelated languages of Eurasia. While providing a detailed case study of Tundra Nenets, it broadens this inquiry into a detailed typological exploration of this relative clause type. The authors argue that an understanding of this construction requires exploring the (type of) grammar system in which it occurs in order to identify the (set of) independent constructions that motivate its existence. The resulting insights into grammar organization illustrate the usefulness of a construction-theoretic syntax and morphology informed by a developmental systems perspective for the understanding of complex grammatical phenomena.
Distinguishing between discourse referents and thematic arguments, the analysis of incorporation proposed by Donka Farkas and Henriettë de Swart accounts for the relationship between morphological and semantic number, the contrasts between incorporated singulars and incorporated plurals, and various "shades" of discourse transparency. The framework of Discourse Representation Theory used is a theory well-suited for connecting sentence-level and discourse-level semantics.
The analysis presented in this book has important consequences for a cross-linguistic theory of anaphora. Linguists and logicians interested in discourse structure, cross-linguistic semantics, and the relationship between morpho-syntax and meaning will find this an engaging and innovative work.