Date: 22-Jun-2005 From: Ellie Brown <Ellie.Brownelsevier.com> Subject: Shifting the Focus: Wedgwood
Title: Shifting the Focus
Subtitle: From Static Structures to the Dynamics of Interpretation
Series Title: Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface, Volume 14
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd.
Author: Daniel Wedgwood,
Hardback: ISBN: 0080445772 Pages: 312 Price: U.K. £ 62.99
Hardback: ISBN: 0080445772 Pages: 312 Price: U.S. $ 99.95
Hardback: ISBN: 0080445772 Pages: 312 Price: Europe EURO 91.95
How direct is the mapping between linguistic constructions and their interpretations? Much less direct than we commonly assume, according to Daniel Wedgwood. Extending current ideas from frameworks like Relevance Theory and Dynamic Syntax, Wedgwood upholds a radical position on modelling linguistic competence: the idea of interfacing static syntactic and semantic representations must be abandoned in favour of models of the incremental construction of meaning during parsing---which may involve significant pragmatic enrichment. In illustration, Wedgwood presents a detailed study of a key meeting point of grammar and pragmatics: focus, in particular its syntactic expression in Hungarian. The result is a strikingly simple explanation of a complex set of syntactico-semantic phenomena, touching on information structure, negation, quantification and complex predication. For its clear and bold theoretical argumentation and its novel analysis of some notorious data, this book will be of interest to all linguists, philosophers and computational linguists concerned with the relationships between syntax, semantics, pragmatics and information structure.
Table of Contents: Language and Meaning. Relevance Theory and Implications for Linguistic Structure. The Hungarian Data. Focus and Grammar. Focus and Quantifier Distribution. Dynamic Structured Meanings: Predication and Information Structure. Verbal Modifiers and Main Predication. 'Aspectual Constructions' and Negation. Summary and Conclusions. Bibliography. Index.
Endorsements "Wedgwood's book tackles two difficult tasks at once. It makes a radical contribution to debate about the basic form of linguistic theory and presents an impressively broad and deep example of specific linguistic analysis.
This book will interest anyone concerned with the interrelations of structure and meaning in natural languages - whether on a philosophical level or via numerous concrete proposals on issues like the interaction of information structure with quantification and negation." -Professor James R Hurford, University of Edinburgh, UK
"A novel and radical dynamic perspective on language, with Hungarian as a case study. Anyone interested in how the web of syntax and semantics fit together with properties of general reasoning should not miss out on this book." -Professor Ruth Kempson, King's College London