Essays on the Representational and Derivational Nature of Grammar
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From Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

Essays on the Representational and Derivational Nature of Grammar

The Diversity of Wh-Constructions

By Joseph E. Aoun and Yen-hui Audrey Li





This book can be read on two levels: as a novel empirical study of wh- interrogatives and relative constructions in a variety of languages and as a theoretical investigation of chain formation in grammar.The book is divided into two parts. Part I investigates the distribution and interpretation of multiple wh- interrogative constructions, focusing on the workings of Superiority. Part II investigates the structure and derivation of relative constructions. The main languages discussed are Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, and English. The theoretical materials are in the generative grammar tradition.


$16.75 S ISBN: 9780262012003 301 pp. | 9 in x 6 in


$7.75 S ISBN: 9780262511322 301 pp. | 9 in x 6 in


  • This book contains the most interesting and provocative syntax that I have seen in the last five years. It has all of the ingredients required for status as a classic. First, it contains new data of the core Lebanese Arabic (LA) constructions of resumption and relativization. Second, it provides sophisticated analyses of these data that, at the very least, will leave (other) theoreticians at loose ends for quite a while. The stunning analysis and discussion of superiority effects in LA resumptive pronoun constructions is alone worth the price of the book. Third, the book catalogues and provides accounts for very subtle cross linguistic variation as regards superiority and relativization. This is comparative syntax at its best; based on thorough and detailed analyses of novel data and informed to the highest degree by a sophisticated appreciation of current grammatical theory. Aoun and Li are considered to be two of the best syntacticians around. This wonderful book shows why.

    Norbert Hornstein

    Professor of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park