Tanya Reinhart

The late Tanya Reinhart was the Interface Chair at Utrecht University, a Global Distinguished Professor at NYU, and the author of Interface Strategies: Optimal and Costly Computations (MIT Press) and other books.

  • Concepts, Syntax, and Their Interface

    Concepts, Syntax, and Their Interface

    The Theta System

    Tanya Reinhart, Martin Everaert, Marijana Marelj, and Eric Reuland

    A systematic exposition of Reinhart's Theta System, with extensive annotations and essays that capture subsequent developments.

    One of Tanya Reinhart's major contributions to linguistic theory is the development of the Theta System (TS), a theory of the interface between the system of concepts and the linguistic computational system. Reinhart introduced her theory in a seminal paper, “The Theta System: Syntactic Realization of Verbal Concepts” (2000) and subsequently published other papers with further theoretical development. Although Reinhart continued to work on the Theta System, she had not completed a planned Linguistic Inquiry volume on the topic before her untimely death in 2007. This book, then, is the first to offer a systematic exposition of Reinhart's Theta System. The core of the book is Reinhart's 2000 paper, accompanied by substantial endnotes with clarifications, summaries, and links to subsequent modifications of the theory, some in Reinhart's unpublished work. An appendix by Marijana Marelj discusses the domain of Case, based on an LSA course she taught with Reinhart in 2005. Two additional essays by Reinhart's linguistic colleagues discuss the division of labor between the lexicon and syntax and the apparent conflict between the Theta System and Distributed Morphology.

    • Hardcover $19.75 £14.99
    • Paperback $40.00 £30.00
  • Interface Strategies

    Interface Strategies

    Optimal and Costly Computations

    Tanya Reinhart

    In this monograph Tanya Reinhart discusses strategies enabling the interface of different cognitive systems, which she identifies as the systems of concepts, inference, context, and sound. Her point of departure is Noam Chomsky's hypothesis that language is optimally designed—namely, that in many cases, the bare minimum needed for constructing syntactic derivations is sufficient for the full needs of the interface. Deviations from this principle are viewed as imperfections.

    The book covers in depth four areas of the interface: quantifier scope, focus, anaphora resolution, and implicatures. The first question in each area is what makes the computational system (CS, syntax) legible to the other systems at the interface—how much of the information needed for the interface is coded already in the CS, and how it is coded. Next Reinhart argues that in each of these areas there are certain aspects of meaning and use that cannot be coded in the CS formal language, on both conceptual and empirical grounds. This residue is governed by interface strategies that can be viewed as repair of imperfections. They require constructing and comparing a reference set of alternative derivations to determine whether a repair operation is indeed the only way to meet the interface requirements.

    Evidence that reference-set computation applies in these four areas comes from language acquisition. The required computation poses a severe load on working memory. While adults can cope with this load, children, whose working memory is less developed, fail in tasks requiring this computation.

    • Hardcover $16.75 £13.99
    • Paperback $34.00 £27.00


  • The Processing and Acquisition of Reference

    The Processing and Acquisition of Reference

    Edward A. Gibson and Neal J. Pearlmutter

    How people refer to objects in the world, how people comprehend reference, and how children acquire an understanding of and an ability to use reference.

    This volume brings together contributions by prominent researchers in the fields of language processing and language acquisition on topics of common interest: how people refer to objects in the world, how people comprehend such referential expressions, and how children acquire the ability to refer and to understand reference. The contributors first discuss issues related to children's acquisition and processing of reference, then consider evidence of adults' processing of reference from eye-tracking methods (the visual-world paradigm) and from corpora and reading experiments. They go on to discuss such topics as how children resolve ambiguity, children's difficulty in understanding coreference, the use of eye movements to physical objects to measure the accessibility of different referents, the uses of probabilistic and pragmatic information in language comprehension, antecedent accessibility and salience in reference, and neuropsychological data from the event-related potential (ERP) recording literature.

    • Hardcover $10.75 £8.99