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Richard S. Kayne

Titles by This Author

The Transformational Cycle

Carried out within the framework of the theory of generative grammar originated with Noam Chomsky in the 1950s, this book should be of particular interest to those either active in or conversant with the field of generative grammar and also to those just beginning the study of generative grammar. Those readers interested in French syntax, but outside the domain of generative grammar, should find profitable Kayne's detailed discussion of various grammatical phenomena and should find stimulating the claim that the theory of generative grammar can provide revealing solutions to traditionally unsolved or unnoticed problems.


It is standardly assumed that Universal Grammar (UG) allows a given hierarchical representation to be associated with more than one linear order. For example, English and Japanese phrases consisting of a verb and its complement are thought of as symmetrical to one another, differing only in linear order. The Antisymmetry of Syntax proposes a restrictive theory of word order and phrase structure that denies this assumption. According to this theory, phrase structure always completely determines linear order, so that if two phrases differ in linear order, they must also differ in hierarchical structure.

More specifically, Richard Kayne shows that asymmetric c-command invariably maps into linear precedence. From this follows, with few further hypotheses, a highly specific theory of word order in UG: that complement positions must always follow their associated head, and that specifiers and adjoined elements must always precede the phrase that they are sister to. A further result is that standard X-bar theory is not a primitive component of UG. Rather, X-bar theory expresses a set of antisymmetric properties of phrase structure. This antisymmetry is inherited from the more basic antisymmetry of linear order.

Linguistic Inquiry Monograph No. 25