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Hardcover | Out of Print | 296 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 2002 | ISBN: 9780262083089
Paperback | $28.00 X | £22.95 | 296 pp. | 6 x 9 in | October 2002 | ISBN: 9780262582148
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Prolegomenon to a Theory of Argument Structure


This work is the culmination of an eighteen-year collaboration between Ken Hale and Samuel Jay Keyser on the study of the syntax of lexical items. It examines the hypothesis that the behavior of lexical items may be explained in terms of a very small number of very simple principles. In particular, a lexical item is assumed to project a syntactic configuration defined over just two relations, complement and specifier, where these configurations are constrained to preclude iteration and to permit only binary branching. The work examines this hypothesis by methodically looking at a variety of constructions in English and other languages.

About the Authors

Ken Hale (deceased) was the Ferrari P. Ward Professor Emeritus in Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Samuel Jay Keyser is Professor Emeritus in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and Special Assistant to the Chancellor. Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy from 1977 to 1998, he also held the positions of Director of the Center for Cognitive Science and Associate Provost.


“"This book is an extraordinarily lucid presentation of Hale and Keyser's insightful, and deservedly influential, approach to argument structure. It is one more reminder of how much we will miss Ken Hale, but how blessed we were to have him as long as we did."--Howard Lasnik, Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland”