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Book Information


Title: The Logic of Variation
Subtitle: A Cross-Linguistic Account of Wh-Question Formation
Written By: Willemijn Vermaat
Series Title: LOT Dissertation Series 121

Generative linguists and categorial grammarians aim to develop a system of
Universal Grammar to explain structural variation across languages while at
the same time accounting for uniformity in interpretation. The generative
tradition has provided a broad empirical perspective on cross-linguistic
diversity. The type-logical tradition provides logical tools to understand
this diversity in deductive terms. This dissertation aims to establish a
two-way communication between these two perspectives.

This book presents the logic of variation as a system of universal grammar.
Its central claim is that the combination of structural variation and
uniform semantic interpretation in wh-question formation can be accounted
for in terms of three assumptions: (1) Higher-order type assignment:
higher-order type assignment to wh-elements accounts for the uniformity in
the semantic interpretation of wh-questions; (2) A fixed structural
module: variation in the structural realization is bounded by a restricted
set of structural rules which is claimed to be fixed by Universal Grammar;
consequently, (3) Strong lexicalism: cross-linguistic variation in
wh-question formation must be entirely reducible to differences in lexical
type-assignment, that is, there are no language-specific structural rules.
Empirical support for this view is provided for by presenting a broad
cross-linguistic analysis of languages that structurally differ in
wh-question formation.

This study will be relevant to linguists in the generative tradition and
mathematical linguists who are concerned with the formal system of natural
language variation and the syntax-semantics interface. The various grammar
fragments discussed in the thesis have been implemented with Grail, Richard
Moot's parser for categorial type logics. The CD-rom accompanying this
thesis allows the reader to further explore the fragments which are
discussed and/or to formulate alternative analyses.

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Ati
Chinese, Mandarin
Language Family(ies): Austronesian
Japanese Family
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Format: Electronic
ISBN: 9076864896
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 236
Prices: U.S. $ free
Europe EURO 24.02