LINGUIST List 8.309

Sun Mar 2 1997

Books: Morphology/Phonology, Semantics

Editor for this issue: Susan Robinson <suelinguistlist.org>


Additional information on the following books, as well as a short backlist of the publisher's titles, may be available from the Listserv. Instructions for retrieving publishers' backlists appear at the end of this issue.

Directory

  1. Kristi Long, New book-Morphology/Phonology
  2. Kristi Long, New book-Semantics

Message 1: New book-Morphology/Phonology

Date: 14 Feb 97 11:04:20 +0100
From: Kristi Long <kristi_longgarland.com>
Subject: New book-Morphology/Phonology

MORPHOLOGY/PHONOLOGY


Noyer, Rolf; Features, Positions and Affixes in Autonomous Morphological 
Structure; 0-8153-2759-5; cloth; 428 pages; $89; Garland Publishing

The first extensive, cross-linguistic study within Distributed
Morphology, this work presents a theory of the spell-out of syntactic
structures as phonologically realized inflected words. Although the
characteristics of well-formed words largely emerge from the
interaction of forces distributed throughout the grammar (syntactic
movement and the arbitrary resources of language-specific vocabulary),
a residue of autonomous morphology remains, including morphosyntactic
feature neutralization (Impoverishment), local re-ordering of affixes,
and locally selected affix templates.
The study presents a detailed synchronic and diachronic investigation
of the Afroasiatic prefix conjugation from Old Akkadian to
contemporary dialects of Arabic and Berber. Disjunctive ordering of
morphological rules cannot simultaneously effect both position class
and unique exponence effects, as in standard word-and-paradigm
approaches. An original synthesis of morpheme-based and paradigm-based
models is proposed in which syntactic nodes fuse or fission into their
phonological signals by means of vocabulary-driven spell-out, with
little or no extrinsic ordering of morphological rules.
A set of feature co-occurrence restrictions or filters is provided
which determines the alphabet of inflectional categories. Languages
with rich inflection provide positive evidence to the learner to
unlearn certain filters; otherwise, filters automatically Impoverish
morphosyntactic representations, explaining the systematic absence of
forms which might otherwise be constructed by freely operating
word-formation rules. The filter theory of Impoverishment is
exemplified with a thorough cross-linguistic study of person and
number, including a comparative study of the inherent number systems
of the Kiowa-Tanoan languages. The proposed theory is then tested
against complex multiple-argument verbal agreement systems in Warlpiri
and Nunggubuyu (Australian), Kiowa-Tanoan, and Ket (Siberia).

E-mail: infogarland.com
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Message 2: New book-Semantics

Date: 14 Feb 97 11:06:53 +0100
From: Kristi Long <kristi_longgarland.com>
Subject: New book-Semantics

SEMANTICS


Condoravdi, Cleo A.; Descriptions in Context; 0-8153-2871-0; cloth;
214 pages; $50; Garland Publishing

Standard semantic theories of indefinite descriptions, including both
those that analyze them as inherently existentially quantified and
those that analyze them as non-quantificational, variable-contributing
elements , predict that indefinites always have existential force if
outside the scope of any operator, that they assert rather than
presuppose existence, and that they are not essentially
context-sensitive.
In this work the author shows that bare plural indefinite descriptions
in English, in one of their readings, do not have existential force,
that even in the absence of any operator, they presuppose rather than
assert existence, and that they are crucially context-sensitive. This
reading, called the "functional reading," is argued to constitute a
distinct interpretation that cannot be subsumed under the regular
generic or existential interpretation. The author develops an analysis
that captures the similarities and differences between indefinites
with the functional reading and definites within the framework of
dynamic semantics. The universal quantificational force, the
existential presupposition, and the context-sensitivity associated
with the functional reading follow from the felicity conditions. Bare
plural indefinite descriptions are associated with and general
principles governing informational accommodation and contextually
salient functions invoked to guarantee felicity.
More generally, this work can be seen as an argument in favor of (i) a
dynamic theory of meaning, as opposed to the classical
truth-conditional theory; (ii) a presuppositional analysis of
descriptions; and (iii) a strong interaction between semantics and
pragmatics, whereby background knowledge directly affects
interpretation in a way that cannot be factored away as a Gricean
effect.

E-mail: Infogarland.com
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