Linguistic Minimalism: Origins, Concepts, Methods, and Aims

Paperback | August 24, 2006

byCedric Boeckx

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The Minimalist Program for linguistic theory is Noam Chomsky's boldest and most radical version of his naturalistic approach to language. Cedric Boeckz examines its foundations, explains its underlying philosophy, exemplifies its methods, and considers the significance of its empiricalresults. He explores the roots and antecedents of the Program and shows how its methodologies parallel those of sciences such as physics and biology. He disentangles and clarifies current debates and issues around the nature of minimalist research in linguistics and shows how the aims and ambitionsof the Minimalist Program lie at the centre of the enterprise to understand how the human language faculty operates in the mind and is manifested in the world's languages.Professor Boeckx writes for advanced and graduate students of linguistics and for all those, in fields such as cognitive science and evolutionary biology, who want to know more about current developments in theoretical linguistics.

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The Minimalist Program for linguistic theory is Noam Chomsky's boldest and most radical version of his naturalistic approach to language. Cedric Boeckz examines its foundations, explains its underlying philosophy, exemplifies its methods, and considers the significance of its empiricalresults. He explores the roots and antecedents of t...

Cedric Boeckx is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University, and a member of the Mind-Brain-Behavior Initiative. He received his PhD from the University of Connecticut in 2001. He has held visiting positions at the Universities of Illinois and Maryland. His main research interests are in theoretical syntax, comparative g...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.51 inPublished:August 24, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199297584

ISBN - 13:9780199297580

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Table of Contents

1. The Minimalist Gamble1.1. Minimalism in a nutshell1.2. How to approach minimalism1.3. Author's aims2. The Minimalist roots2.1. The birth of modern biolinguistics2.2. Levels of Adequacy2.3. The Poverty of Stimulus, and what must be done about it2.4. Computational properties of the language organ2.4.1. Early results2.4.2. Later developments2.4.3. Parameters2.5. Conclusion3. The Minimalist Core3.1. The Minimalist Core3.1.1. The Minimalist Core3.1.2. Some Generalizations3.2. Taking stock3.3. The notion of 'program' and how it applies to minimalism3.3.1. Program vs. Theory3.3.2. Lakatos on research programs3.4. Conclusion4. The Minimalist Impact4.1. The Galilean Style in science4.2. Why-questions4.3. Beauty in science4.4. The Galilean Style and Biology4.4.1. Linguistics as biology4.4.2. Two scientific cultures4.4.3. Back to Laws of Form4.4.4. The evolution of the language faculty4.4.5. Language and cognition4.5. Conclusion5. Minimalist Highlights5.1. Caveat lector5.2. Evaluating the objections to the program5.3. Specific minimalist analyses5.3.1. Control5.3.2. Copies and linearization5.3.3. A constraint on multiple wh-fronting5.3.4. Successive cyclicity5.3.5. Bare Phrase Structure 5.3.6. Sluicing 5.3.7. Parasitic gaps 5.3.8. Existential constructions 5.4. Conclusion6. The minimalist Seduction

Editorial Reviews

"Linguistic Minimalism is the most ambitious presentation and defense of the minimalist program published to date. My overall assessment is that Boeckx has done an excellent job. I recommend Linguistic Minimalism to anyone with a good background in syntactic theory who wants to know what the minimalist program is all about. Cedric Boeckx has written a book that puts the program in the best possible light." --Frederick J. Newmeyer, Language "This concise book is certainly a welcome addition to the literature on generative biolinguistics. Committed minimalists will appreciate Boeckx's unabashed and passionate boosterism, while skeptics and relentless critics of the minimalism program can try to stand up to his challenge. On both ends, it is enjoyable reading." --Naoki Fukui, Language "This deeply-informed study, drawing from a wide diversity of domains, provides a thoughtful perspective on how a minimalist program in linguistics emerges as a natural outcome of advances in understanding of the nature of language and its acquisition. It also outlines a course the program might take in seeking to identify the distinctive properties of human language, separating them from the effects of more general principles, which may reduce to laws of nature. To determine its special properties has been the goal of serious inquiry into language from its ancient origins. Such inquiry is now taking quite new forms, and, as Boeckx shows, is productively investigating questions that could scarcely have been formulated not long ago."--Noam Chomsky "An engaging, accessible, important exposition of Chomsky's pioneering Program, including its normal scientific evolution, the higher standards ofexplanation it imposes and the exciting new interdisciplinary linkages it has established."--Samuel David Epstein, University of Michigan "Linguistic Minimalism, Origins, Methods, and Aims is an insightful presentation of the conceptual underpinnings and internal logic of the Minimalist Program. It will show the curious why those of us pursuing this program are so excited by its prospects."--Howard Lasnik, University of Maryland "An engaging, accessible, important exposition of Chomsky's pioneering Program, including its normal scientific evolution, the higher standards of explanation it imposes and the exciting new interdisciplinary linkages it has established."--Samuel David Epstein, University of Michigan