LINGUIST List 13.2192

Thu Aug 29 2002

Books: Syntax/Psycholinguistics: Thomas Wasow

Editor for this issue: Richard John Harvey <>

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  1. Christine Sosa, Postverbal Behavior, Thomas Wasow

Message 1: Postverbal Behavior, Thomas Wasow

Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 11:54:39 -0700
From: Christine Sosa <>
Subject: Postverbal Behavior, Thomas Wasow

CSLI Publications is pleased to announce the availability of:

POSTVERBAL BEHAVIOR; Thomas Wasow (Stanford University);
paper ISBN: 1-57586-402-9, $25.00, 
cloth ISBN: 1-57586-401-0, $65.00,
200 pages. 

CSLI Publications 2002. 


To order this book, contact The University of Chicago Press. Call
their toll free order number 1-800-621-2736 (U.S. & Canada only) or
order online at (use the search feature
to locate the book, then order).

Book description:

Compared to many languages, English has relatively fixed word order,
but the ordering among phrases following the verb exhibits a good deal
of variation. This monograph explores factors that influence the
choice among various available orders of postverbal elements, testing
hypotheses using a combination of corpus studies and psycholinguistic

The studies presented in this book focus on three alternations: heavy
NP shift, the dative alternation, and the verb-particle construction.
A variety of factors that might influence ordering are examined,
including: the grammatical complexity of phrases whose order is in
question; the newness of information conveyed by those phrases; how
closely the phrases' meanings are connected to that of the verb; and
whether one ordering has an ambiguity absent from the other.

The book's final two chapters question how studies of language use -
corpus studies and elicitation experiments - bear on issues in
linguistic theory. This leads to questions about the role of
quantitative data in linguistics, and about the more standard type of
data employed by many linguists, namely introspective judgments. This
discussion includes responses to a number of Chomsky's arguments,
published over the course of almost half a century, against the use of
statistics and probability in linguistics. It also addresses Chomsky's
I-language/E-language distinction and his arguments for the
epiphenomenal nature of E-language.
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Thursday, January 17, 2002