Date: 15-Dec-2005 From: Joyce Reid <jreidcup.org> Subject: On Definiteness: Chesterman
Title: On Definiteness
Subtitle: A Study with Special Reference to English and Finnish
Series Title: Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, 56
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Author: Andrew Chesterman
Paperback: ISBN: 0521022878 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 34.99
Paperback: ISBN: 0521022878 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 19.99
This book proposes a new theory of definiteness in language. It argues that definiteness should be viewed as a cover-term comprising three basic oppositions within the areas of familiarity (locatability), quantity (inclusiveness) and generality (extensivity). Further, the oppositions are not discrete but scalar, and lend themselves to characterization in terms of fuzzy theory. Dr Chesterman examines these themes, firstly by drawing on several traditions of research on the rich system of articles in English, and then by looking at how the concept of definiteness is realized in Finnish, a language which has no articles and typically leaves definiteness to be inferred by a variety of means. On Definiteness provides a thorough and sensitive discussion of an intricate semantic problem. It highlights two important theoretical points: the fuzziness of the linguistic concept of definiteness and the differences between languages in the way in which they draw the line between syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
1. Introduction 2. English articles: the research traditions 3. English article usage 4. A unified description of the English articles 5. Finnish: no articles 6. Finnish spesies 7. The status of definiteness in Finnish 8. English and Finnish contrasted 9. Wider perspectives References Indexes.
In this book, Ljiljana Progovac presents cross-linguistic data on negative polarity, reflexive binding and the subjunctive mood, and proposes a unified analysis for various languages, including English and Serbian/Croatian. She argues that Negative Polarity Items (NPIs), such as 'anyone' and 'ever', are anaphoric in nature and must be bound in their governing category, while Positive Polarity Items (PPIs), such as 'someone' and 'already', are subject to Principle B of the Binding Theory. She also suggests that possible binders (and SUBJECTS) for polarity items are negation or else a polarity operator in the complementiser of questions, conditionals, and other clauses with an unfixed truth-value. Her analysis not only captures many similarities between polarity and anaphora, but also accounts for a number of hitherto unexplained facts about polarity items.
Preface Introduction 1. Negative contexts: Serbian/Croatian 2. Negative contexts: English 3. Non-negative polarity contexts 4. Language variation 5. Rhetorical questions 6. Subjunctive: domain extensions 7. Free-choice items 8. Ladusaw and Linebarger Notes References Index