Simpler Syntax

Paperback | September 7, 2005

byPeter W. Culicover, Ray Jackendoff

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This groundbreaking book offers a new and compelling perspective on the structure of human language. The fundamental issue it addresses is the proper balance between syntax and semantics, between structure and derivation, and between rule systems and lexicon. It argues that the balance struckby mainstream generative grammar is wrong. It puts forward a new basis for syntactic theory, drawing on a wide range of frameworks, and charts new directions for research. In the past four decades, theories of syntactic structure have become more abstract, and syntactic derivations have become ever more complex. Peter Culicover and Ray Jackendoff trace this development through the history of contemporary syntactic theory, showing how much it has been driven bytheory-internal rather than empirical considerations. They develop an alternative that is responsive to linguistic, cognitive, computational, and biological concerns. At the core of this alternative is the Simpler Syntax Hypothesis: the most explanatory syntactic theory is one that imputes the minimum structure necessary to mediate between phonology and meaning. A consequence of this hypothesis is a far richer mapping between syntax and semantics than isgenerally assumed. Through concrete analyses of numerous grammatical phenomena, some well studied and some new, the authors demonstrate the empirical and conceptual superiority of the Simpler Syntax approach.Simpler Syntax is addressed to linguists of all persuasions. It will also be of central interest to those concerned with language in psychology, human biology, evolution, computational science, and artificial intellige

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This groundbreaking book offers a new and compelling perspective on the structure of human language. The fundamental issue it addresses is the proper balance between syntax and semantics, between structure and derivation, and between rule systems and lexicon. It argues that the balance struckby mainstream generative grammar is wrong. I...

Peter W. Culicover is Chair of the Department of Linguistics and former Director of the Center for Cognitive Science at the Ohio State University. His books include Formal Principles of Language Acquisition (1980, with Kenneth Wexler), Principles and Parameters (1997), Syntactic Nuts (1999), and Dynamical Grammar (2003, with Andrzej...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:608 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 1.25 inPublished:September 7, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199271097

ISBN - 13:9780199271092

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Table of Contents

PART I Cutting Syntax Down to Size1. Why Simpler Syntax?2. How did we get here? Principles and early history of mainstream syntax3. Later History of Mainstream Syntax4. Flat StructurePART II The Syntax-Semantics Interface5. Basic Clause Structure6. The Grammatical Function Tier7. Bare Argument Ellipsis and its Relatives8. VP Ellipsis and its Relatives9. Discontinuous DependenciesPART III Binding and Control10. Mme. Tussaud Meets the Binding Theory11. Something Else for the Binding Theory12. The Semantic Basis of Control in EnglishPART IV Connections Between Clauses13. Semantic Subordination Despite Syntactic Coordination14. The View from the Periphery: The English comparative correlative15. What is Language Like? Moving On

Editorial Reviews

"Simpler Syntax is a very rich book, both in its basic content--over 500 pages worth--and in its generous provision of food for thought. It should prove thought-provoking not just for scholars working within generative linguistics, for whom it will provide many novel and insightful solutions to some very old questions within that paradigm, but also for linguists from outside the generative tradition, who will find in it one of the very few historically and applicationally contextualised accounts of the preoccupations of generative linguistics."--Linguist List 17.718 "This book is a major step forward for linguistics. Its systematic, accessible style of analysis heralds a renaissance in syntax, not just for specialists but for everyone."--Mark Liberman, University of Pennsylvania "Two master syntacticians show how far current syntactic theory has lost touch with reality--and how to reconnect. A brilliant book, inspiring new optimism about the field."--Geoffrey K. Pullum, University of California, Santa Cruz