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.
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.
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.
Experiencers—grammatical participants that undergo a certain psychological change or are in certain psychological states—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.
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‚Äôs 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.
In this highly original reanalysis of minimalist syntax, Thomas Stroik considers the optimal design properties for human language. Taking as his starting point Chomsky‚Äôs minimalist assumption that the syntactic component of a language generates representations for sentences that are interpreted at perceptual and conceptual interfaces, Stroik investigates how these representations can be generated most parsimoniously.
Paul Kiparsky's work in linguistics has been wide-ranging and fundamental. His contributions as a scholar and teacher have transformed virtually every subfield of contemporary linguistics, from generative phonology to poetic theory. This collection of essays on the word—the fundamental entity of language—by Kiparsky's colleagues, students, and teachers reflects the distinctive focus of his own attention and his influence in the field.
Recent research on the syntax of signed languages has revealed that, apart from some modality-specific differences, signed languages are organized according to the same underlying principles as spoken languages. This book addresses the organization and distribution of functional categories in American Sign Language (ASL), focusing on tense, agreement, and wh-constructions.
This concise work offers a compositional theory of verbal argument structure in natural languages that focuses on how arguments that are not "core" arguments of the verb (arguments that are not introduced by verbal roots themselves) are introduced into argument structures. Liina Pylkk√§nen shows that the type of argument structure variation that allows additional noncore arguments is a pervasive property of human language and that most languages have verbs that exhibit this behavior.