This is the first and only book to provide an introduction to the
fundamental theoretical issues of phrase structure in the Principles &
Parameters approach to syntax. It provides in-depth analyses of basic
phrase structure concepts and detailed examinations of different
theoretical positions from within the Principles & Parameters tradition.
The book approaches phrase structure through close discussion of Chomsky's
The Minimalist Program (1995), Kayne's Antisymmetry of Syntax (1994) and
the author's own A Theory of Phrase Markers and the Extended Base (1996),
with a chapter devoted to each of these books. Throughout, the focus is
almost exclusively on theoretical considerations such as primitive and
derived concepts, theoretical architecture, simplicity and naturalness of
extensions of basic ideas, internal coherence and consistency, and
explanatory adequacy, with natural language data and analysis playing
virtually no role.
The structuring concepts and questions include the relation of argument
structure to syntactic structure; headedness and endocentricity; the status
of functional versus lexical categories; X-Bar Theory; and the respective
statuses of precedence and dominance.