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Style, Mediation, and Change

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Intonation and Prosodic Structure

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Title: Interfaces + Recursion = Language?
Subtitle: Chomsky's Minimalism and the View from Syntax-Semantics
Edited By: Uli Sauerland
Hans-Martin Gärtner
Series Title: Studies in Generative Grammar [SGG] 89

Human language is a phenomenon of immense richness: It provides finely
nuanced means of expression that underlie the formation of culture and
society; it is subject to subtle, unexpected constraints like syntactic
islands and cross-over phenomena; different mutually-unintelligeable
individual languages are numerous; and the descriptions of individual
languages occupy thousands of pages. Recent work in linguistics, however,
has tried to argue that despite all appearances to the contrary, the human
biological capacity for language may be reducible to a small inventory of
core cognitive competencies. The most radical version of this view has
emerged from the Minimalist Program: The claim that language consists of
only the ability to generate recursive structures by a computational
mechanism. On this view, all other properties of language must result from
the interaction at the interfaces of that mechanism and other mental
systems not exclusively devoted to language. Since language could then be
described as the simplest recursive system satisfying the requirements of
the interfaces, one can speak of the Minimalist Equation: Interfaces +
Recursion = Language.

The question whether all the richness of language can be reduced to that
minimalist equation has already inspired several fruitful lines of research
that led to important new results. While a full assessment of the
minimalist equation will require evidence from many different areas of
inquiry, this volume focuses especially on the perspective of syntax and
semantics. Within the minimalist architecture, this places our concern with
the core computational mechanism and the (LF-) interface where recursive
structures are fed to interpretation. Specific questions that the papers
address are: What kind of recursive structures can the core generator form?
How can we determine what the simplest recursive system is? How can
properties of language that used to be ascribed to the recursive generator
be reduced to interface properties? What effects do syntactic operations
have on semantic interpretation? To what extent do models of semantic
interpretation support the LF-interface conditions postulated by minimalist

Of interest to: Research Libraries, Researchers and Advanced Students of
Linguistics, especially Generative Linguistics, Syntax

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Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
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Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 3110188724
ISBN-13: 9783110188721
Pages: 289
Prices: Europe EURO 78.00
U.S. $ 105.30