In Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies, Robert Frank explores an approach to syntactic theory that weds the Tree Adjoining Grammar (TAG) formalism with the minimalist framework. TAG has been extensively studied both for its mathematical properties and for its usefulness in computational linguistics applications. Frank shows that incorporating TAG's formally restrictive operations for structure building considerably simplifies the model of grammatical competence, particularly in the components concerned with syntactic movement and locality. The empirical advantages of the resulting model, illustrated with extensive case studies of subject-raising constructions and wh-questions, point toward a conception of grammar that is sharply limited in its computational power.
"This work is an extremely lucid discussion of the proper interplay of formal framework and substantive linguistic theory, and should be of interest to anyone concerned with that issue. It contains a highly sophisticated treatment of a large number of current topics in syntax, and the syntactic analysis is quite thorough and insightful. I definitely recommend this book to syntacticians of all stripes." —Mark Baltin, Department of Linguistics, New York University