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Theoretical Linguistics

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A Comparative Study

In The Syntax of Adjectives, Guglielmo Cinque offers cross-linguistic evidence that adjectives have two sources. Arguing against the standard view, and reconsidering his own earlier analysis, Cinque proposes that adjectives enter the nominal phase either as “adverbial” modifiers to the noun or as predicates of reduced relative clauses. Some of his evidence comes from a systematic comparison between Romance and Germanic languages.

Vowel harmony results from a set of restrictions that determine the possible and impossible sequences of vowels within a word. The study of syntax begins with the observation that the words of a sentence cannot go in just any order, and the study of phonology begins with the same observation for the consonants and vowels of a word.

The contemporary discipline of biolinguistics is beginning to have the feel of scientific inquiry. Biolinguistics--especially the work of Noam Chomsky--suggests that the design of language may be “perfect”: language is an optimal solution to conditions of sound and meaning. What is the scope of this inquiry? Which aspect of nature does this science investigate? What is its relation to the rest of science? What notions of language and mind are under investigation? This book is a study of such foundational questions.

This introductory text takes a novel approach to the study of syntax. Grammar as Science offers an introduction to syntax as an exercise in scientific theory construction. Syntax provides an excellent instrument for introducing students from a wide variety of backgrounds to the principles of scientific theorizing and scientific thought; it engages general intellectual themes present in all scientific theorizing as well as those arising specifically within the modern cognitive sciences.

In Uttering Trees, Norvin Richards investigates the conditions imposed upon syntax by the need to create syntactic objects that can be interpreted by phonology--that is, objects that can be pronounced. Drawing extensively on linguistic data from a variety of languages, including Japanese, Basque, Tagalog, Spanish, Kinande (Bantu language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and Chaha (Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia), Richards makes two new proposals about the relationship between syntax and phonology.

Linguistic Explorations in Honor of David M. Perlmutter

Anyone who has studied linguistics in the last half-century has been affected by the work of David Perlmutter. One of the era’s most versatile linguists, he is perhaps best known as the founder (with Paul Postal) of Relational Grammar, but he has also made contributions to areas ranging from theoretical morphology to sign language phonology. Hypothesis A/Hypothesis B (the title evokes Perlmutter’s characteristic style of linguistic argumentation) offers twenty-three essays by Perlmutter’s colleagues and former students.

Experiencers--grammatical participants that undergo a certain psychological change or are in such a state--are grammatically special. As objects (John scared Mary; loud music annoys me), experiencers display two peculiar clusters of nonobject properties across different languages: their syntax is often typical of oblique arguments and their semantic scope is typical of subjects. In The Locative Syntax of Experiencers, Idan Landau investigates this puzzling correlation and argues that experiencers are syntactically coded as (mental) locations.

A convincing account of reduplicative phenomena has been a longstanding problem for rule-based theories of morphophonology. Many scholars believe that derivational phonology is incapable in principle of analyzing reduplication. In Distributed Reduplication, John Frampton demonstrates the adequacy of rule-based theories by providing a general account within that framework and illustrating his proposal with extensive examples of widely varying reduplicatation schemes from many languages.

The essays in this volume address foundational questions in phonology that cut across different schools of thought within the discipline. The theme of modularity runs through them all, however, and these essays demonstrate the benefits of the modular approach to phonology, either investigating interactions among distinct modules or developing specific aspects of representation within a particular module. Although the contributors take divergent views on a range of issues, they agree on the importance of representations and questions of modularity in phonology.

This concise but wide-ranging monograph examines where the conditions of binding theory apply and in doing so considers the nature of phrase structure (in particular how case and theta roles apply) and the nature of the lexical/functional split. David Lebeaux begins with a revised formulation of binding theory. He reexamines Chomsky’s conjecture that all conditions apply at the interfaces, in particular LF (or Logical Form), and argues instead that all negative conditions, in particular Condition C, apply continuously throughout the derivation.

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