This work examines word order. More accurately, it is the ordering of constituents that is discussed since prepositional phrases and most noun phrases form syntactic constituents and the encoding of topic and focus in Russian. As has long been observed, word order in Russian encodes specific discourse information: with neutral intonation, topics precede discourse-neutral constituents which precede foci. King extends this idea to show that word order encodes different types of topic and focus in a principled manner.
Masked Inversion in French
Paul M. Postal University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress PC2380.P66 1989 | Dewey Decimal 445
In this important work of linguistic analysis, Paul M. Postal addresses a paradigm anomaly in French that has hitherto resisted explanation. A general restriction limiting the form of direct objects in complex infinitival constructions with main verbs like faire fails to hold with certain subordinate verbs, especially connaître. Marshaling extensive evidence, Postal argues that this apparent irregularity is a symptom of a deeper regularity. Rather than being an ordinary transitive complement, the subordinate clause in these cases is actually an Inversion structure, one in which the logical subject demotes to indirect object. However, since this demotion induces no word order change or other direct morphological consequences, the inversion is "masked," and revealed only by several types of apparent anomalies.
This analysis has significant consequences for contemporary syntactic theories. First, the arguments support the view that a sentence's superficial structure cannot be identified with its syntactic structure, even though such an identification is a fundamental assumption of several currently influential grammatical frameworks. Second, even certain theories that do posit abstract aspects of grammatical form fail to allow for the needed Inversion structures. Postal's study supports theories based on the notion of arc and stratification into levels which provide a natural treatment consistent with the factual requirements.
Masked Inversion in French is the first systematic account of this puzzling French syntactic anomaly, and its findings will stimulate research in many areas of natural language grammatical structure.
This book examines the scrambling phenomena in German and Korean from the perspective that different ordering possibilities are motivated and constrained by interactions among syntactic, semantic, and discourse principles. Using Optimality Theory, Optimizing Structure in Context demonstrates how these principles from different modules of grammar interact and thus resolve conflicts among themselves to yield the most optimal output, that is, a sentence with a particular word order, in a given semantic and discoursal context. This way, it explains various meaning-related effects associated with scrambling such as definiteness effect and focus effect. While developing constraints in the discourse domain, it also proposes a new model of information structure based on basic discourse features. By expanding the core idea of constraint interaction in Optimality Theory to interactions 'between' modules of grammar as well as 'between', this book provides a model of interface theory.
Thomas Wasow CSLI, 2002 Library of Congress PE1385.W37 2002 | Dewey Decimal 425
Compared to many languages, English has relatively fixed word order, but the ordering among phrases following the verb exhibits a good deal of variation. This monograph explores factors that influence the choice among possible orders of postverbal elements, testing hypotheses using a combination of corpus studies and psycholinguistic experiments. Wasow's final chapters explore how studies of language use bear on issues in linguistic theory, with attention to the roles of quantitative data and Chomsky's arguments against the use of statistics and probability in linguistics.
The Theory of German Word Order from the Renaissance to the Present was first published in 1981. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The uniquely systematic character of German word order and sentence structure has long been recognized as an important feature of the language and of its literary uses. This book is the first comprehensive survey of the way theorists and stylists have interpreted these features through the centuries. Aldo Scaglione contends that the story of this theoretical awareness is part of the emerging cultural and literary consciousness of the German nation, as well as a testing ground for contemporary linguistic typology.
German speculation on the nature of a national language is, to Scaglione, best understood as a dialogue with the prevailing models of Latin, Italian, French, and English. His account of the debates over German word order is thus grounded in the complex historical circumstances from which they emerge: Renaissance grammarians took stock of German divergencies from the Latin cultural model, and those in the seventeenth century faced the challenges of French rationalism, nineteenth-century Romanticism and the many linguistic movements of the twentieth century have all cast new light upon the peculiarities of German sentence structure. Readers interested in historical syntax, rhetorical traditions, and the history of the German language will value both Scaglione's wide-ranging knowledge and his lively style.
This book applies the highly constrained grammatical framework of Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar of the syntax of German, focusing on the complex interaction of word order phenomena and constituent structure. Uszkoreit modifies and extends this framework to permit the adequate treatment of partially free word order as it occurs in German and probably to some degree in all natural languages. Through Uszkoreit's redefined notion of linear precedence rules, it has become possible for the first time to present a formalized analysis of the interaction of the competing syntactic, semantic, pragmatic, and stylistic principles that determine the order of arguments and adjuncts.
Most of the book is dedicated to the proof that a phrase-structure-grammar model can offer an adequate description of a language with much freer word order than English and at the same time provide new insights in the structure of this language. A highly concentrated and elegant grammar fragment is given, which offers intuitive analyses for such notoriously problematic phenomena as (1) word order differences between main clauses and subordinate clauses, (2) the second position of the finite verb in assertion main clauses, (3) the order among main, auxiliary, and modal verbs, (4) the derivation and distribution of separable prefix verbs, and (5) the partially free order among verb complements and adjuncts.