In this book, Peter Culicover introduces the analysis of natural language
within the broader question of how language works - of how people use
languages to configure words and morphemes in order to express meanings. He
focuses both on the syntactic and morphosyntactic devices that languages
use, and on the conceptual structures that correspond to particular aspects
of linguistic form. He seeks to explain linguistic forms and in the process
to show how these correspond with meanings.
The book's clear, step-by-step exposition is presented within the Simpler
Syntax framework whose development has been led by the author and Ray
Jackendoff over the last fifteen years. This integrates syntactic theory
with the representation of conceptual structure and casts fresh light on
the interface between syntax and semantics. It also enables elegant and
economical analyses of natural language phenomena without recourse to such
abstract devices as functional heads and uniform binary branching.
Peter Culicover opens his account with an overview of the nature of
language and the aims of its analysis. He then divides the book into parts
devoted to syntactic categories, syntactic structure and argument
structure, argument realization, unbounded dependencies, and clausal
structure. He provides exercises, problems, and suggestions for further
reading throughout the book.