One Rule of English Grammar and Its Theoretical Implications
464 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: January 15, 1978
- Published: March 15, 1974
For some time it has been generally accepted by students of English grammar that a rule of Raising exists and that it functions to produce derived main clause subjects. Following Rosenbaum's work, it has also been widely accepted that this rule functions in a specified class of cases to derive main clause objects. However, in recent work, Chomsky has rejected the view that there is any Raising rule that produces derived main clause objects. According to his latest position, only the derived subject function of the rule is an actual feature of English grammar. On Raising is highly critical and is devoted chiefly to supporting the claim that English does contain a rule of Raising—a rule that has the function of taking the complement subject noun phrase in certain complement constructions and reassigning it as a constituent of the main clause. The author presents something on the order of two dozen arguments that Raising produces derived objects. In the course of this discussion, he also considers various other theoretical and descriptive consequences of, and questions raised by, the existence of Raising.
A...resumé of the main areas of Postal's work fails to capture its full scope, for example, the extensive amount of relevant data, the intensive analysis and argumentation to justify the existence of Raising and the exhaustive footnotes (many as long as three pages) which discuss related side issues and which are in fact mini-articles and a comprehensive consideration of any possible linguistic fact which might be related to his very persuasive case. The present study is a monumental piece of linguistic scholarship which will serve as a model of competent, thorough and logical linguistic analysis.
An in-depth analysis of the transformational rule that converts the deep structure subjects of complement clauses into the surface structure objects of main verbs. After adopting McCawley's position that English is a verb-initial language, Postal offers extensive and convincing evidence that Raising does exist in English, a position directly opposed by Noam Chomsky. Postal develops more than a dozen arguments for the existence of Raising, explores what he calls 'potential' arguments for Raising and concludes with discussions of the semantic and universal implications of Raising. A theoretical work for the graduate student or professional linguist.