How do humans acquire, at a very early age and from fragmentary and haphazard data, the complex patterns of their native language? This is the logical problem of language acquisition, and it is the question that directs the search for an innate universal grammar. As Time Goes By extends the search by proposing a theory of natural-language tense that will be responsive to the problem of language acquisition.
How is the meaning of natural language interpreted? Taking as its point of departure the logical problem of natural language acquisition, this book elaborates a theory of meaning based on syntactical rather than semantical processes. Hornstein argues that the traditional neoFregean approach taken by Davidson, Barwise and Perry, and Montague, among others—an approach that makes use of semantical notions like "truth" and "reference"—should be replaced by a theory drawn from the syntactical vocabulary of generative grammar.
The essays in this book present explicit syntactic analyses that adhere to programmatic minimalist guidelines. Thus they show how the guiding ideas of minimalism can shape the construction of a new, more explanatory theory of the syntactic component of the human language faculty.
Contributors: Zeljko Boskovic, Samuel David Epstein, Robert Freidin, Erich M. Groat, Norbert Hornstein, Hisatsugu Kitahara, Howard Lasnik, Roger Martin, Jairo Nunes, Norvin Richards, Juan Uriagereka, Amy Weinberg