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Linguistics and Language

Linguistics and Language

Using Complex Lexical Descriptions in Natural Language Processing

The last decade has seen computational implementations of large hand-crafted natural language grammars in formal frameworks such as Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG), Combinatory Categorical Grammar (CCG), Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG), and Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG). Grammars in these frameworks typically associate linguistically motivated rich descriptions (Supertags) with words.

In Language and Equilibrium, Prashant Parikh offers a new account of meaning for natural language. He argues that equilibrium, or balance among multiple interacting forces, is a key attribute of language and meaning and shows how to derive the meaning of an utterance from first principles by modeling it as a system of interdependent games.

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.

Unifying Agreement-Based and Discourse-Configurational Languages

An unusual property of human language is the existence of movement operations. Modern syntactic theory from its inception has dealt with the puzzle of why movement should occur. In this monograph, Shigeru Miyagawa combines this question with another, that of the occurrence of agreement systems. Using data from a wide range of languages, he argues that movement and agreement work in tandem to achieve a specific goal: to imbue natural language with enormous expressive power.

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.

Syntax is arguably the most human-specific aspect of language. Despite the proto-linguistic capacities of some animals, syntax appears to be the last major evolutionary transition in humans that has some genetic basis. Yet what are the elements to a scenario that can explain such a transition? In this book, experts from linguistics, neurology and neurobiology, cognitive psychology, ecology and evolutionary biology, and computer modeling address this question.

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.

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.

In this highly original reanalysis of minimalist syntax, Thomas Stroik considers the optimal design properties for human language. Taking as his starting point Chomsky’s 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.