Shigeru Miyagawa

Shigeru Miyagawa is Professor of Linguistics at MIT and the author of Why Move? Why Agree? and Agreement Beyond Phi, both also in the Linguistic Inquiry Monographs series.

  • Syntax in the Treetops

    Shigeru Miyagawa

    A proposal that syntax extends to the domain of discourse in making core syntax link to the conversational context.

    In Syntax in the Treetops, Shigeru Miyagawa proposes that syntax extends into the domain of discourse by making linkages between core syntax and the conversational participants. Miyagawa draws on evidence for this extended syntactic structure from a wide variety of languages, including Basque, Japanese, Italian, Magahi, Newari, Romanian, and Spanish, as well as the language of children with autism. His proposal for what happens at the highest level of the tree structure used by linguists to represent the hierarchical relationships within sentences—“in the treetops”—offers a unique contribution to the new area of study sometimes known as “syntacticization of discourse.”

    Miyagawa's main point is that syntax provides the basic framework that makes possible the performance of a speech act and the conveyance of meaning; although the role that syntax plays for speech acts is modest, it is critical. He proposes that the speaker-addressee layer and the Commitment Phrase (the speaker's commitment to the addressee of the truthfulness of the proposition) occur together in the syntactic treetops. In each succeeding chapter, Miyagawa examines the working of each layer of the tree and how they interact.

    • Paperback $50.00
  • Agreement Beyond Phi

    Agreement Beyond Phi

    Shigeru Miyagawa

    An argument that agreement and agreementless languages are unified under an expanded view of grammatical features including both phi-features and certain discourse configurational features.

    Much attention in theoretical linguistics in the generative and Minimalist traditions is concerned with issues directly or indirectly related to movement. The EPP (extended projection principle), introduced by Chomsky in 1981, appeared to coincide with morphological agreement, and agreement came to play a central role as the driver of movement and other narrow-syntax operations. In this book, Shigeru Miyagawa continues his investigation into a computational equivalent for agreement in agreementless languages such as Japanese.

    Miyagawa extends his theory of Strong Uniformity, introduced in his earlier book, Why Agree? Why Move? Unifying Agreement-Based and Discourse-Configurational Languages (MIT Press). He argues that agreement and agreementless languages are unified under an expanded view of grammatical features including both phi-features and discourse configurational features of topic and focus. He looks at various combinations of these two grammatical features across a number of languages and phenomena, including allocutive agreement, root phenomena, topicalization, “why” questions, and case alternation.

    • Hardcover $85.00
    • Paperback $35.00
  • Why Agree? Why Move?

    Why Agree? Why Move?

    Unifying Agreement-Based and Discourse-Configurational Languages

    Shigeru Miyagawa

    An argument that not only do movement and agreement occur in every language, they also work in tandem to imbue natural language with enormous expressive power.

    An unusual property of human language is the existence of movement operations. Modern syntactic theory from its inception has dealt with the puzzle of why movement should occur. In this monograph, Shigeru Miyagawa combines this question with another, that of the occurrence of agreement systems. Using data from a wide range of languages, he argues that movement and agreement work in tandem to achieve a specific goal: to imbue natural language with enormous expressive power. Without movement and agreement, he contends, human language would be merely a shadow of itself, with severe limitation on what can be expressed. Miyagawa investigates a variety of languages, including English, Japanese, Bantu languages, Romance languages, Finnish, and Chinese. He finds that every language manifests some kind of agreement, some in the form of the familiar person/number/gender system and others in the form of what Katalin É. Kiss calls “discourse configurational” features such as topic and focus. A key proposal of his argument is that the computational system in syntax deals with the wide range of agreement types uniformly—as if there were just one system—and an integral part of this computation turns out to be movement. Why Agree? Why Move? is unique in proposing a unified system for movement and agreement across language groups that are vastly diverse—Bantu languages, East Asian languages, Indo-European languages, and others.

    • Hardcover $50.00
    • Paperback $30.00


  • Opening Up Education

    Opening Up Education

    The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge

    Toru Iiyoshi and M.S. Vijay Kumar

    Experts discuss the potential for open education tools, resources, and knowledge to transform the economics and ecology of education.

    Given the abundance of open education initiatives that aim to make educational assets freely available online, the time seems ripe to explore the potential of open education to transform the economics and ecology of education. Despite the diversity of tools and resources already available—from well-packaged course materials to simple games, for students, self-learners, faculty, and educational institutions—we have yet to take full advantage of shared knowledge about how these are being used, what local innovations are emerging, and how to learn from and build on the experiences of others. Opening Up Education argues that we must develop not only the technical capability but also the intellectual capacity for transforming tacit pedagogical knowledge into commonly usable and visible knowledge: by providing incentives for faculty to use (and contribute to) open education goods, and by looking beyond institutional boundaries to connect a variety of settings and open source entrepreneurs.

    These essays by leaders in open education describe successes, challenges, and opportunies they have found in a range of open education initiatives. They approach—from both macro and micro perspectives—the central question of how open education tools, resources, and knowledge can improve the quality of education. The contributors (from leading foundations, academic institutions, associations, and projects) discuss the strategic underpinnings of their efforts first in terms of technology, then content, and finally knowledge. They also address the impact of their projects, and how close they come to achieving a vision of sustainable, transformative educational opportunities that amounts to much more than pervasive technology.

    Through the support of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, an electronic version of this book is openly available under a Creative Commons license at The MIT Press Web site,

    Contributors Richard Baraniuk, Randy Bass, Trent Batson, Dan Bernstein, John Seely Brown, Barbara Cambridge, Tom Carey, Catherine Casserly, Bernadine Chuck Fong, Ira Fuchs, Richard Gale, Mia Garlick, Gerard Hanley, Diane Harley, Mary Huber, Pat Hutchings, Toru Iiyoshi, David Kahle, M. S. Vijay Kumar, Andy Lane, Diana Laurillard, Stuart Lee, Steve Lerman, Marilyn Lombardi, Phil Long, Clifford Lynch, Christopher Mackie, Anne Margulies, Owen McGrath, Flora McMartin, Shigeru Miyagawa, Diana Oblinger, Neeru Paharia, Cheryl Richardson, Marshall Smith, Candace Thille, Edward Walker, David Wiley

    • Hardcover $25.95
    • Paperback $21.95