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Paperback | $27.00 Short | £18.95 | ISBN: 9780262600255 | 340 pp. | 6 x 9 in | January 1997
 

The Architecture of the Language Faculty

Overview


Over the past twenty-five years, Ray Jackendoff has investigated many complex issues in syntax, semantics, and the relation of language to other cognitive domains. He steps back in this new book to survey the broader theoretical landscape in linguistics, in an attempt to identify some of the sources of the widely perceived malaise with respect to much current theorizing.

Starting from the "Minimalist" necessity for interfaces of the grammar with sound, meaning, and the lexicon, Jackendoff examines many standard assumptions of generative grammar that in retrospect may be seen as the product of historical accident. He then develops alternatives more congenial to contemporary understanding of linguistic phenomena.

The Architecture of the Language Faculty seeks to situate the language capacity in a more general theory of mental representations and to connect the theory of grammar with processing. To this end, Jackendoff works out an architecture that generates multiple co-constraining structures, and he embeds this proposal in a version of the modularity hypothesis called Representational Modularity.

Jackendoff carefully articulates the nature of lexical insertion and the content of lexical entries, including idioms and productive affixes. The resulting organization of the grammar is compatible with many different technical realizations, which he shows can be instantiated in terms of a variety of current theoretical frameworks.

Linguistic Inquiry Monograph No. 28


About the Author

Ray Jackendoff is Seth Merrin Professor of Philosophy and Codirector of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He is the author of many books, including Foundations of Language.