This study investigates a model of syntactic derivations that is based on a new concept of dislocation, i.e., of 'movement' phenomena. Derivations are conceived of as a compositional process that constructs larger syntactic units out of smaller ones without any phrase-structure representations, as in categorial grammars. It is shown that a simple extension of this view can account for dislocation without gap features, chains, or structural transformations, and for many basic generalizations that transformational theories express in terms of X-bar-Theory and various constraints on movement.
A pioneering new approach to a long-debated topic at the heart of syntax: what are the primitive concepts and operations of syntax? This book argues, appealing in part to the logic of Chomsky's Minimalist Program, that the primitive operations of syntax form relations between words rather than combining words to form constituents. Just three basic relations, definable in terms of inherent selection properties of words, are required in natural language syntax: projection, argument selection, and modification. In the radically simplified account of generative grammar Bowers proposes there are just two interface levels, which interact with our conceptual and sensory systems, and a lexicon from which an infinite number of sentences can be constructed. The theory also provides a natural interpretation of phase theory, enabling a better formulation of many island constraints, as well as providing the basis for a unified approach to ellipsis phenomena.
This book explores the syntactic nature of inner aspect from a minimalist perspective. It begins with the new observation that there are two independent properties at play in English inner aspect: the object-to-event mapping and event structure. From a discussion of English statives and Russian, it is concluded that the former property is variant and the latter universal; a minimalist conception of language variation arises naturally in this context. Additionally, an exploration of a lexical derivational approach to achievements leads to the expectation that there are no accomplishments in the lexicon. A detailed look at idioms suggests that this expectation is met. These results support the division of labor between an operative lexicon and narrow syntax in aspectual composition; this naturally poses a problem for (neo-)constructional approaches to inner aspect. Finally, one conclusion reached about the syntactic nature of inner aspect regards the object-to-event mapping: it is a purely syntactic phenomenon.
This study shows that Scandinavian object shift and so-called A-scrambling in the continental Germanic languages are the same, and aims at providing an account of the variation that we find with respect to this phenomenon by combining certain aspects of the Minimalist Program and Optimality Theory. More specifically, it is claimed that representations created by a simplified version of the computational system of human language CHL are evaluated in an optimality theoretic fashion by taking recourse to a very small set of output constraints.
This book examines the cross-linguistic expression of changes of location or state, taking as a starting point Talmy's typological generalization that classifies languages as either 'satellite-framed' or 'verb-framed'. In verb-framed languages, such as those of the Romance family, the result state or location is encoded in the verb. In satellite-framed languages, such as English or Latin, the result state or location is encoded in a non-verbal element. These languages can be further subdivided into weak satellite-framed languages, in which the element expressing result must form a word with the verb, and strong satellite-framed languages, in which it is expressed by an independent element: an adjective, a prepositional phrase or a particle. In this volume, Víctor Acedo-Matellán explores the similarities between Latin and Slavic in their expression of events of transition: neither allows the expression of complex adjectival resultative constructions and both express the result state or location of a complex transition through prefixes. They are therefore analysed as weak satellite-framed languages, along with Ancient Greek and some varieties of Mandarin Chinese, and stand in contrast to strong satellite-framed languages such as English, the Germanic languages in general, and Finno-Ugric. This variation is expressed in terms of the morphological properties of the head that expresses transition, which is argued to be affixal in weak but not in strong satellite-framed languages. The author takes a neo-constructionist approach to argument structure, which accounts for the verbal elasticity shown by Latin, and a Distributed Morphology approach to the syntax-morphology interface.
This minimalist study proposes that the computational system of human language must consist of strictly local operations. In this highly original reanalysis of minimalist syntax, Thomas Stroik considers the optimal design properties for human language. Taking as his starting point Chomsky's minimalist assumption that the syntactic component of a language generates representations for sentences that are interpreted at perceptual and conceptual interfaces, Stroik investigates how these representations can be generated most parsimoniously. Countering the prevailing analyses of minimalist syntax, he argues that the computational properties of human language consist only of strictly local Merge operations that lack both look-back and look-forward properties. All grammatical operations reduce to a single sort of locally defined feature-checking operation, and all grammatical properties are the cumulative effects of local grammatical operations. As Stroik demonstrates, reducing syntactic operations to local operations with a single property—merging lexical material into syntactic derivations—not only radically increases the computational efficiency of the syntactic component, but it also optimally simplifies the design of the computational system. Locality in Minimalist Syntax explains a range of syntactic phenomena that have long resisted previous generative theories, including that-trace effects, superiority effects, and the interpretations available for multiple-wh constructions. It also introduces the Survive Principle, an important new concept for syntactic analysis, and provides something considered impossible in minimalist syntax: a locality account of displacement phenomena.
This study seeks to blend the rigorous description of four Nigerian languages with theoretical insights. Four main tasks are involved. First, constructions involving the interface of morphology and syntax in the four languages are presented with regard to the syntax of substantives and functional categories, the morphology of functional heads and the relation between functional heads and the syntactic level of language. Secondly, these constructions are described and analysed within the framework of the Principles and Parameters Theory. Thirdly, those theoretical approaches within the Principles and Parameters Theory that can serve as tools for the analysis of the four languages are refined and modified, thereby establishing a version of the theory which may also serve for the morpho-syntactic analysis of related languages. Finally the syntactic model of functional categories is combined with a strictly morpho-semantic model of functional categories.
Regimes of Derivation in Syntax and Morphology presents a theory of the architecture of the human linguistic system that differs from all current theories on four key points. First, the theory rests on a modular separation of word syntax from phrasal syntax, where word syntax corresponds roughly to what has been called derivational morphology. Second, morphosyntax (corresponding to what is traditionally called "inflectional morphology") is the immediate spellout of the syntactic merge operation, and so there is no separate morphosyntactic component. There is no LF (logical form) derived; that is, there is no structure which 'mirrors' semantic interpretation ("LF"); instead, semantics interprets the derivation itself. And fourth, syntactic islands are derived purely as a consequence of the formal mechanics of syntactic derivation, and so there are no bounding nodes, no phases, no subjacency, and in fact no absolute islands. Lacking a morphosyntactic component and an LF representation are positive benefits as these provide temptations for theoretical mischief. The theory is a descendant of the author's "Representation Theory" and so inherits its other benefits as well, including explanations for properties of reconstruction, remnant movement, improper movement, and scrambling/scope interactions, and the different embedding regimes for clauses and DPs. Syntactic islands are added to this list as special cases of improper movement.
Understanding Minimalism is a state-of-the-art introduction to the Minimalist Program the current model of syntactic theory within generative linguistics. Accessibly written, it presents the basic principles and techniques of the minimalist program, looking firstly at analyses within Government and Binding Theory (the Minimalist Program s predecessor), and gradually introducing minimalist alternatives. Minimalist models of grammar are presented in a step-by-step fashion, and the ways in which they contrast with GB analyses are clearly explained. Spanning a decade of minimalist thinking, this textbook will enable students to develop a feel for the sorts of questions and problems that minimalism invites, and to master the techniques of minimalist analysis. Over 100 exercises are provided, encouraging them to put these new skills into practice. Understanding Minimalism will be an invaluable text for intermediate and advanced students of syntactic theory, and will set a solid foundation for further study and research within Chomsky s minimalist framework.
This volume explores recent advancements in the Minimalist Program that adopt Stroik’s (1999, 2009) Survive Principle as the principle means of accounting for displacement phenomena in earlier versions of generative theory. These contributions bring to light many advantages and challenges that beset the Survive-minimalist framework, including topics such as the lexicon-syntax relationship, coordinate symmetries, scope, ellipsis, code-switching, and probe-goal relations. Despite the diverse, broad range of topics discussed in this volume, the papers are connected by a renewed investigation of Frampton & Gutmann’s (2002) vision of a crash-proof syntax. This volume provides new and interesting perspectives on theoretical issues that have challenged the Minimalist Program since its inception and will provide ample food for thought for syntacticians working in the Minimalist tradition and beyond.
This brief collection of refereed papers approaches several technical as well as methodological aspects of the mathematical formalization of natural language, particularly in syntax and in semantics. Such kind of investigation is a prerequisite for the computational processing of language and is narrowly related to current developments in other disciplines, namely theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. The volume offers a coherent picture of recent research on the mathematics of language, and may be of interest to a wide audience, from linguists to mathematicians. Detailed indexes of authors and topics provide an easy access to the contents.
The volume advances our understanding of the role of scales and hierarchies across the linguistic sciences. Although scales and hierarchies are widely assumed to play a role in the modelling of linguistic phenomena, their status remains controversial, and it is these controversies that the present volume tackles head-on.
This is the first volume dedicated to the study of formal features and the expression of arguments within Phase Theory, the latest model of syntactic theorizing within the Minimalist Program. The collection addresses the nature of formal features and their role in the syntactic computation as well as checking mechanisms and configurations. It also investigates theoretical issues underlying the nature of syntactic arguments and their licensing (argument structure at large) and specific grammatical operations involving arguments (abstract and morphological case, empty elements, passivization, negation, and aspect). The chapters presented in this volume provide case studies from several, typologically unrelated languages. Apart from novel analyses of new as well as well-known facts, the contributions also provide interesting aspects of and challenges for Phase Theory in general, by critically exploring a number of theoretical extensions, proposing new syntactic mechanisms, and sharpening our tools for linguistic analysis.
This book examines the diachronic development of negation in Low German, from Old Saxon up to the point at which Middle Low German is replaced by High German as the written language. It investigates both the development of standard negation, or Jespersen's Cycle, and the changing interaction between the expression of negation and indefinites in its scope, giving rise to negative concord along the way. Anne Breitbarth shows that developments in Low German form a missing link between those in High German, English, and Dutch, which have been much more widely researched. These changes are analysed using a generative account of syntactic change combined with minimalist assumptions concerning the syntax of negation and negative concord. The book provides the first substantial, diachronic analysis of the development of the expression of negation through the Old Saxon and Middle Low German periods, and will be of interest not only to students and researchers in the history of German, but also to all those working on the syntax of negation from a diachronic and synchronic perspective.
In Classical Mathematical Logic, Richard L. Epstein relates the systems of mathematical logic to their original motivations to formalize reasoning in mathematics. The book also shows how mathematical logic can be used to formalize particular systems of mathematics. It sets out the formalization not only of arithmetic, but also of group theory, field theory, and linear orderings. These lead to the formalization of the real numbers and Euclidean plane geometry. The scope and limitations of modern logic are made clear in these formalizations. The book provides detailed explanations of all proofs and the insights behind the proofs, as well as detailed and nontrivial examples and problems. The book has more than 550 exercises. It can be used in advanced undergraduate or graduate courses and for self-study and reference. Classical Mathematical Logic presents a unified treatment of material that until now has been available only by consulting many different books and research articles, written with various notation systems and axiomatizations.
In this collection of essays, the author addresses the central issues in syntax theory, comparative syntax and the theoretically conscious study of language acquisition. Key topics are explored, including the properties of null elements and the theory of parameters. Some of the essays presented here have been highly influential in their field, while others are published for the first time.
This monograph proposes a minimalist, phase-based approach to the derivation of coordinate structures, utilizing the operations Copy and Match to account for both the symmetries and asymmetries of coordination. Data are drawn primarily from English, German and Dutch. The basic assumptions are that all coordinate structures are symmetric to some degree (in contrast to parasitic gap and many verb phrase ellipsis constructions), and these symmetries, especially with ellipsis, allow syntactic derivations to utilize Copy and Match in interface with active memory for economizing with gaps and assuring clarity of interpretation. With derivations operating at the feature level, troublesome properties of coordinate structures such as cross-categorial and non-constituent coordination, violations of the Coordinate Structure Constraint, as well as coordinate ellipsis (Gapping, RNR, Left-Edge Ellipsis) are accounted for without separate mechanisms or conditions applicable only to coordinate structures. The proposal provides support for central assumptions about the structure of West Germanic.
In the modular design of generative theory the syntaxsemantics interface has accounted all along for meanings at the level of Logical Form. The syntaxpragmatics interface, on the other hand, is the result of what one may call the 'pragmatic turn' in the linguistic theory, where content is partitioned into given and new information. In other words, the structural division of the clause has been subjected to criteria of information, or discourse structure. Both interfaces require a structurally descriptive inventory whose specific shapes can be motivated on theory-internal grounds only. The present collection of original articles develops the concept of these interfaces further. The papers in the first section focus on the syntaxsemantics interface, those in the second section on the syntaxpragmatics interface.