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Book Information


Subtitle: A Theory of the Morphology-Syntax Interface
Written By: Yafei Li

This important monograph offers a resolution to the debate in theoretical
linguistics over the role of syntactic head movement in word formation. It
does so by synthesizing the syntactic and lexicalist approaches on the
basis of the empirical data that support each side. In trying to determine
how a morphologically complex word is formed in Universal Grammar,
generative linguists have argued either that a substantial amount of
morphological phenomena result from head movement in overt syntax (the
widely adopted syntactic approach) or that morphological/lexical means are
both necessary and sufficient for a theory of word formation (the
Lexicalist Hypothesis). Li examines both the linguistic facts that are
brought to light for the first time and the existing data in the literature
and shows that each side has an empirical foundation that cannot be negated
by the other. Since neither approach is adequate to explain all the facts
of word formation, he argues, the way to achieve a unified account lies in
synthesizing the empirically advantageous portions of both approaches into
one simple and coherent theory.

Li begins by demonstrating how a theory that combines the essence of the
syntactic and lexicalist approaches can account more accurately for the
various morphological constructions analyzed in the literature by means of
syntactic verb incorporation. He then examines causativization on the
adjectival root, noun incorporation in polysynthetic languages, and the
possibility that the word formation part of the Lexicalist
Hypothesis--which is crucial to his theory--can be derived as a theorem
from a version of the X-bar theory. He concludes by discussing
methodological issues in current linguistic research.

Yafei Li is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Linguistics at the
University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: MIT Press
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Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0262122758
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 232
Prices: U.S. $ 75

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0262621916
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 232
Prices: U.S. $ 30