This book develops a minimalist approach to cross-linguistic morphosyntactic variation. Ian Roberts argues that the essential insight of the principles-and-parameters approach to variation can be maintained - albeit in a somewhat different guise - in the context of the minimalist programme for linguistic theory. The central idea is to organize the parameters of Universal Grammar (UG) into hierarchies that define the ways in which properties of individually variant categories and features may act in concert. A further leading idea, which is consistent with the overall goal of the minimalist programme to reduce the content of UG, is that the parameter hierarchies are not directly determined by UG, and are instead emergent properties stemming from the interaction of the three factors in language design. Cross-linguistic variation in word order, null subjects, incorporation, verb-movement, case/alignment, wh-movement, and negation are all analysed in the light of this approach. This book represents a significant new contribution to the formal study of cross-linguistic morphosyntactic variation on both the empirical and theoretical levels, and will appeal to researchers and students in all areas of theoretical linguistics and comparative syntax.
In this book, Ian Roberts argues that the essential insight of the principles-and-parameters approach to variation can be maintained - albeit in a somewhat different guise - in the context of the minimalist programme. The book represents a significant new contribution to the formal study of cross-linguistic morphosyntactic variation.
This second edition of Ian Roberts's highly successful textbook on diachronic syntax has been fully revised and updated throughout to take account of the multiple developments in the field in the last decade. The book provides a detailed account of how standard questions in historical linguistics - including word order change, grammaticalization, and reanalysis - can be explored in terms of current minimalist theory and Universal Grammar. This new edition offers expanded coverage of a range of topics, including null subjects, the Final-over-Final Condition, the diachrony of wh-movement, the Tolerance Principle, and creoles and creolization, and explores further advances in the theory of parametric variation. Each chapter includes suggestions for further reading, and the book concludes with a comprehensive glossary of key terms. Written by one of the leading scholars in the field, the volume will remain an ideal textbook for students of historical linguistics and a valuable reference for researchers and students in related areas such as syntax, comparative linguistics, language contact, and language acquisition.
This handbook provides a critical guide to the most central proposition in modern linguistics: the notion, generally known as Universal Grammar, that a universal set of structural principles underlies the grammatical diversity of the world's languages. Part I considers the implications of Universal Grammar for philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, and examines the history of the theory. Part II focuses on linguistic theory, looking at topics such as explanatory adequacy and how phonology and semantics fit into Universal Grammar. Parts III and IV look respectively at the insights derived from UG-inspired research on language acquisition, and at comparative syntax and language typology, while part V considers the evidence for Universal Grammar in phenomena such as creoles, language pathology, and sign language. The book will be a vital reference for linguists, philosophers, and cognitive scientists.
This volume collects novel contributions to comparative generative linguistics that “rethink” existing approaches to an extensive range of phenomena, domains, and architectural questions in linguistic theory. At the heart of the contributions is the tension between descriptive and explanatory adequacy which has long animated generative linguistics and which continues to grow thanks to the increasing amount and diversity of data available to us. The chapters address research questions on the relation of syntax to other aspects of grammar and linguistics more generally, including studies on language acquisition, variation and change, and syntactic interfaces. Many of these contributions show the influence of research by Ian Roberts and collaborators and give the reader a sense of the lively nature of current discussion of topics in synchronic and diachronic comparative syntax ranging from the core verbal domain to higher, propositional domains.
This second edition of Diachronic Syntax has been fully revised and updated throughout to cover the multiple developments in the area in the last decade. Written by one of the leading scholars in the field and including a glossary and suggestions for further reading, it will be an ideal textbook for undergraduate students of historical linguistics.
This book explores variation in Bantu subject and object marking on the basis of data from 75 Bantu languages. It specifically addresses the question of which features are involved in agreement and nominal licensing, and examines how parametric variation in those features accounts for the settings and patterns that are attested crosslinguistically.
This book provides the most comprehensive and detailed formal account to date of the evolution of French syntax. It covers syntactic variation and change across all periods of French, and in standard and non-standard varieties, and explores phenomena such as subject positions and null subjects, verb movement, object placement, and negation.
Even though null subjects have been extensively studied in the past four decades, there is a growing interest in partial null subject languages (e.g. Finnish) and a subtler classification of null subject phenomena overall. This volume aims at contributing to this trend, focusing on Slavic and Finno-Ugric groups, with some extension to Baltic and Samoyedic languages. Interestingly, these groups offer an impressive array of macro- and microvariation. Moreover, given an increasing interest towards the internal structure of the pronominal elements and the role of various types of topics in the left periphery of the sentence structure, the enterprise taken up in this book is to investigate lexical and null, referential and generic subjects in order to understand and compare their feature composition, licensing conditions, and structural properties. Rather than trying to squeeze the studied languages into a predefined set of parameters, this volume highlights some properties that may lead to a refinement of the existing generalizations. It brings together contributors from both generative and typological traditions and will be of interest to any researcher willing to investigate argument-drop in a wider crosslinguistic perspective.
This volume provides the most exhaustive and comprehensive treatment available of the Verb Second property, which has been a central topic in formal syntax for decades. While Verb Second has traditionally been considered a feature primarily of the Germanic languages, this book shows that it is much more widely attested cross-linguistically than previously thought, and explores the multiple empirical, theoretical, and experimental puzzles that remain in developing an account of the phenomenon. Uniquely, formal theoretical work appears alongside studies of psycholinguistics, language production, and language acquisition. The range of languages investigated is also broader than in previous work: while novel issues are explored through the lens of the more familiar Germanic data, chapters also cover Verb Second effects in languages such as Armenian, Dinka, Tohono O'odham, and in the Celtic, Romance, and Slavonic families. The analyses have wide-ranging consequences for our understanding of the language faculty, and will be of interest to researchers and students from advanced undergraduate level upwards in the fields of syntax, historical linguistics, and language acquisition.
This volume offers a range of synchronic and diachronic case studies in comparative Germanic and Romance morphosyntax. These two language families, spoken by over a billion people today, have played a central role in linguistic research, but many significant questions remain about the relationship between them. Following an introduction that sets out the methodological, empirical, and theoretical background to the book, the volume is divided into three parts that deal with the morphosyntax of subjects and the inflectional layer; inversion, discourse pragmatics, and the left periphery; and continuity and variation beyond the clause. The contributors adopt a diverse range of approaches, making use of the latest digitized corpora and presenting a mixture of well-known and under-studied data from standard and non-standard Germanic and Romance languages. Many of the chapters challenge received wisdom about the relationship between these two important language families. The volume will be an indispensable resource for researchers and students in the fields of Germanic and Romance linguistics, historical and comparative linguistics, and morphosyntax.
A COMPANION TO CHOMSKY Widely considered to be one of the most important public intellectuals of our time, Noam Chomsky has revolutionized modern linguistics. His thought has had a profound impact upon the philosophy of language, mind, and science, as well as the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science which his work helped to establish. Now, in this new Companion dedicated to his substantial body of work and the range of its influence, an international assembly of prominent linguists, philosophers, and cognitive scientists reflect upon the interdisciplinary reach of Chomsky’s intellectual contributions. Balancing theoretical rigor with accessibility to the non-specialist, the Companion is organized into eight sections—including the historical development of Chomsky’s theories and the current state of the art, comparison with rival usage-based approaches, and the relation of his generative approach to work on linguistic processing, acquisition, semantics, pragmatics, and philosophy of language. Later chapters address Chomsky’s rationalist critique of behaviorism and related empiricist approaches to psychology, as well as his insistence upon a “Galilean” methodology in cognitive science. Following a brief discussion of the relation of his work in linguistics to his work on political issues, the book concludes with an essay written by Chomsky himself, reflecting on the history and character of his work in his own words. A significant contribution to the study of Chomsky’s thought, A Companion to Chomsky is an indispensable resource for philosophers, linguists, psychologists, advanced undergraduate and graduate students, and general readers with interest in Noam Chomsky’s intellectual legacy as one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century.