Finiteness: Theoretical and Empirical Foundations

Paperback | May 5, 2007

EditorIrina Nikolaeva

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This book explores the nature of finiteness, one of most commonly used notions in descriptive and theoretical linguistics but possibly one of the least understood. Scholars representing a variety of theoretical positions seek to clarify what it is and to establish its usefulness andlimitations. In doing so they reveal cross-linguistically valid correlations between subject licensing, subject agreement, tense, syntactic opacity, and independent clausehood; show how these properties are associated with finiteness; and discuss what this means for the content of the category. Theissues explored include how different grammatical theories represent finiteness; whether the finite/nonfinite distinction is universal; whether there are degrees of finiteness; whether the syntactic notion of finiteness has a semantic corollary; whether and how finiteness is subject to change; andhow finiteness features in language acquisition.Irina Nikolaeva opens the book by describing the history of finiteness and its place in current thinking and research. She then introduces the chapters of the book, comparing the authors' perspectives and showing what they have in common. The book is then divided into four parts. Part I considersthe role finiteness plays in formal syntactic theories and Part II its deployment in functional theories and as the subject of research in typology. Parts III and IV look respectively at the finite/nonfinite opposition in individual languages and at the role finiteness plays in linguistic change andlinguistic development. The book is written and structured to appeal to scholars and students of syntax and general linguistics at graduate level and above.

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This book explores the nature of finiteness, one of most commonly used notions in descriptive and theoretical linguistics but possibly one of the least understood. Scholars representing a variety of theoretical positions seek to clarify what it is and to establish its usefulness andlimitations. In doing so they reveal cross-linguistica...

Irina Nikolaeva is a Research Associate in Linguistics at the University of Oxford. She has a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Leiden. Her interests include syntax, morphology, typology, lexicalist theories of grammar, and the documentation of endangered languages. She has published books on Uralic, Altaic, and Palaeosiberian...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:552 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.21 inPublished:May 5, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199213747

ISBN - 13:9780199213740

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Table of Contents

1. Irina Nikolaeva: IntroductionPart I Finiteness in Formal Theories2. David Adger: Three Domains of Finiteness: A Minimalist Perspective3. Peter Sells: Finiteness in Non-Transformational Syntactic FrameworksPart II Finiteness in Functional Theories and Typology4. Sonia Cristofaro: Deconstructing Finiteness: Finiteness in a Functional-Typological Perspective5. Walter Bisang: Categories That Make Finiteness: Discreteness From a Functional Perspective and Some of its Repercussions6. Irina Nikolaeva: Constructional Economy and Nonfinite Independent ClausesPart III Finiteness in Individual Languages7. Elena Kalinina and Nina Sumbatova: Clausse Structure and Verbal Forms in Nakh-Daghestanian Languages8. David M. Perlmutter: In What Ways can Finite and Non-Finite Clauses Differ? Evidence from Russian9. Jaklin Kornfilt: Verbal and Nominalised Finite Clauses in TurkishPart IV Finiteness in Diachrony and Language Acquisition10. Adam Ledgeway: Diachrony and Finiteness: Subordination in the Dialects of Southern Italy11. Nicholas Evans: Insubordination and its uses12. Petra Gretsch and Clive Perdue: Finiteness in L1 and L2 AcquisitionReferencesSubject IndexAuthor Index