Elisabeth O. Selkirk

Elisabeth O. Selkirk is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • Phonology and Syntax

    Phonology and Syntax

    The Relation between Sound and Structure

    Elisabeth O. Selkirk

    A fundamentally new approach to the theory of phonology and its relation to syntax is developed in this book, which is the first to address the question of the relation between syntax and phonology in a systematic way. This general theory differs from its predecessors in the generative tradition in several respects. By arguing that the intonational structure of a sentence determines certain aspects of its stress pattern or rhythmic structure, and not vice versa, it provides a novel view of the intonation-stress relation. It also offers a new theory of the focus-prosody relation that solves a variety of classic puzzles and involves an appeal to the place of a focused constituent in the predicate-argument structure of the sentence. The book also includes other novel features, among them a development of the metrical grid theory of stress (including a complete treatment of English word stress in this framework), the representation of juncture in terms of "silent" positions in the metrical grid (with a treatment of sandhi in terms of this rhythmic juncture), and a "rhythmic" nonsyntactic approach to the basic phonology of function words in English.

    This book is tenth in the series, Current Studies in Linguistics.

    • Hardcover
    • Paperback $52.00 £40.00
  • The Syntax of Words

    The Syntax of Words

    Elisabeth O. Selkirk

    An examination of complex words—compounds and those involving derivational and inflectional affixation—from a syntactic standpoint that encompasses both the structure of words and the system of rules for generating that structure.

    This monograph examines complex words—compounds and those involving derivational and inflectional affixation—from a syntactic standpoint that encompasses both the structure of words and the system of rules for generating that structure.The author contends that the syntax of words and the more familiar syntax involving relations among words must be defined by two discrete sets of principles in the grammar, but nevertheless that word structure has the same general formal properties as the larger syntactic structure and is generated by the same sort of rule system. This investigation of word structure and rule systems is based for the most part on the word syntax of English and related languages. One of its major conclusions is that English word structure can be "properly characterized solely in terms of a context-free grammar." Selkirk points out that the Semitic languages, for example, must be characterized in terms of a more elaborate schema. The first chapter presents a general theory of word structure, and discusses a context-free grammar for words, X theory in word structure, and word structure rules. The second chapter is concerned with compounding, and probes the structure and "headedness" of compounds, verbal compounds, and the category type of English compounds. The third and final chapter, on affixation, investigates the nature of affixes, inflectional affixation, and English derivational morphology. This book is the seventh in the Linguistic Inquiry Monograph series.

    • Paperback $22.00 £16.99