Daniel Harbour

Daniel Harbour is Professor of Cognitive Science of Language at Queen Mary University of London.

  • Impossible Persons

    Impossible Persons

    Daniel Harbour

    A groundbreaking, comprehensive formal theory of grammatical person that recasts its empirical foundations and re-envisions its theoretical core.

    Impossible Persons, Daniel Harbour's comprehensive and groundbreaking formal theory of grammatical person, upends understanding of a universal and ubiquitous grammatical category. Breaking with much past work, Harbour establishes three core theses, one empirical, one theoretical, and one metatheoretical. Together, these redefine the data subsumed under the rubric of “person,” simplify the feature inventory that a theory of person must posit, and restructure the metatheory in which feature theory as a whole resides.

    At its heart, Impossible Persons poses a simple question of the possible versus the actual: in how many ways could languages configure their person systems, in how many do they configure them, and what explains the size and shape of the shortfall? Harbour's empirical thesis—that the primary object of study for persons are partitions, not syncretisms—transforms a sea of data into a categorical problem of the attested and the absent. Positing, innovatively, that features denote actions, not predicates, he shows that two features alone generate all and only the attested systems. This apparently poor inventory yields rich explanatory dividends, covering the morphological composition of person, its interaction with number, its connection to space, and properties of its semantics and linearization. Moreover, the core properties of this approach are shared with Harbour's earlier work on number features. Jointly, these results establish an important metatheoretical corollary concerning the balance between richness of feature semantics and restrictiveness of feature inventories. This corollary holds deep implications for how linguists should approach feature theory in future.

    • Hardcover $95.00 £74.00
    • Paperback $37.00 £29.00

Contributor

  • Distributed Morphology Today

    Distributed Morphology Today

    Morphemes for Morris Halle

    Ora Matushansky and Alec P. Marantz

    Essays that offer original theoretical contributions in Distributed Morphology and highlight the lasting influence of Morris Halle, a founder of the field.

    This collection offers a snapshot of current research in Distributed Morphology, highlighting the lasting influence of Morris Halle, a pioneer in generative linguistics. Distributed Morphology, which integrates the morphological with the syntactic, originated in Halle's work. These essays, written to mark his 90th birthday, make original theoretical contributions to the field and emphasize Halle's foundational contributions to the study of morphology.

    The authors primarily focus on the issues of locality, exploring the tight connection of morphology to phonology, syntax and semantics that lies at the core of Distributed Morphology. The nature of phases, the notion of a morpho-syntactic feature, allomorphy and exponence, the synthetic/analytic alternation, stress assignment, and syntactic agreement are all shown to link to more than one grammatical module.

    Animated discussion with students has been central to Halle's research, and the development of Distributed Morphology has been shaped and continued by his students, many of whom have contributed to this volume. Halle's support, advice, and enthusiasm encouraged the research exemplified here. In the Hallean tradition, these papers are sure to inspire all generations of morphologists.

    Contributors Karlos Arregi, Jonathan David Bobaljik, Eulàlia Bonet, David Embick, Daniel Harbour, Heidi Harley, Alec Marantz, Tatjana Marvin, Ora Matushansky, Martha McGinnis, Andrew Nevins, Rolf Noyer, Isabel Oltra-Massuet, Mercedes Tubino Blanco, Susi Wurmbrand

    • Hardcover $45.00 £35.00