A View of Language

Hardcover | December 1, 2001

byPieter A. M. Seuren

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This book collects the best and most influential essays of one of the world's most original linguistic scholars and thinkers. They show Pieter Seuren's remarkable erudition from classical antiquity to current theory, his descriptive and theoretical sophistication, and his beautiful clarity ofstyle. They provide many examples of the cogency of his argument and his willingness to speak out trenchantly against accepted wisdom.In the extensive introduction the author describes the evolution of his theoretical position and its development in relation to Chomskyan syntactic theory and model-theoretic semantics. He argues here and throughout the book that grammar and semantics should be studied as branches of cognitivescience, not as mere formalisms. He propounds, develops, and applies a theory of semantic syntax in which a grammar is seen as a mediating device between propositionally structured thoughts and corresponding surface structures. He rejects conventional notions of autonomous grammar as unsustainableand, in a realist theory of language, unnecessary. He demonstrates that his semantic theory achieves empirically adequate and formally precise explanatory generalizations, developing a theory of discourse semantics as a means of providing elegant accounts of topic-comment structure. The twenty-two essays are divided into four parts dealing broadly with general theory, syntax, semantics, and the linguistics of creole languages. Many of the author's classic papers will be found here, including those on autonomous versus semantic syntax, predicate raising and datives, cliticpronoun clusters, donkey anaphora ('every man who owns a donkey beats it'), serial verb constructions, and many more. Provocative and thoughtful, accessible and entertaining, they add up to a book of real, enduring value.

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This book collects the best and most influential essays of one of the world's most original linguistic scholars and thinkers. They show Pieter Seuren's remarkable erudition from classical antiquity to current theory, his descriptive and theoretical sophistication, and his beautiful clarity ofstyle. They provide many examples of the cog...

Pieter A. M. Seuren was lecturer of linguistics at Cambridge and Oxford universities. From 1974 until 1999 he was Professor of Philosophy of Language and of Theoretical Linguistics at Nijmegen University. Upon retirement in 1999, he became a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics at Nijmegen. He is the autho...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:544 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.26 inPublished:December 1, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199244812

ISBN - 13:9780199244812

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: General Theory1. Language, World, and Cognitive Processing2. Grammar as an Underground Process3. Autonomous vs. Semantic Syntax4. Doing Sums with Language5. Internal Variability in Competence6. The Paradoxes and Natural LanguagePart II: Syntax7. Predicate Raising and Dative in French and Sundry Languages8. Negative's Travels9. Operator Lowering10. A Problem in English Subject Complementation11. Clitic Pronoun ClustersPart III: Semantics12. Presuppositions and the Universe of Interpretation13. Logical Form and Semantic Form: An argument against Geach14. Lexical Meaning and Presupposition15. Presupposition and Negation16. Why Does 2 Mean "2"? Grist to the anti-Grice mill17. Towards a Discourse-Semantic Account of Donkey Anaphora18. A Discourse-Semantic Account of Topic and CommentPart IV: Creole Linguistics19. (with H. Chr. Wekker): Semantic Transparency as a Factor in Creole Genesis20. Serial Verb Constructions21. The Auxiliary System in Sranan22. The Question of Predicate Clefting in the Indian Ocean Creoles

Editorial Reviews

`This collection of articles from Pieter Seuren, my first linguistics teacher, will introduce to a wider public one of linguistic's most original minds, a scholar who has never feared to tread his own path and whose students have benefitted not only from his insight but also from his example.The articles in this collection, ranging from formal semantics to Creole studies, raise essential questions at the heart of linguistic theory and practice.'Bernard Comrie, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig