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The Social Origins of Language

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Presents a new theoretical framework for the origins of human language and sets key issues in language evolution in their wider context within biological and cultural evolution

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Preposition Placement in English: A Usage-Based Approach

By Thomas Hoffmann

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Book Information


Title: John M. Anderson: The Substance of Language
Subtitle: Three-volume pack
Written By: John M. Anderson

The Substance of Language
Volume I: The Domain of Syntax
Volume II: Morphology, Paradigms, and Periphrases
Volume III: Phonology-Syntax Analogies
John M. Anderson

The three volumes of The Substance of Language collectively overhaul
linguistic theory from phonology to semantics and syntax to pragmatics and
offer a full account of how the form/function relationship works in language.
Each explores the consequences for the investigation of language of a
conviction that all aspects of linguistic structure are grounded in the non-
linguistic mental faculties on which language imposes its own structure. The
first and third look at how syntax and phonology are fed by a lexical
component that includes morphology and which unites representations in the
two planes. The second examines the way morphology is embedded in the
lexicon as part of the expression of the lexicon-internal relationships of

The Domain of Syntax explores the consequences for syntax of assuming
that language is grounded in cognition and perception. It shows that syntax is
characterized by a set of categories based on distinctions in what the
categories are perceived to represent. The first part of the book traces the
twentieth-century development of anti-notionalism, culminating in the
assumption that syntax is autonomous. The author then looks at syntactic
phenomena, many involving the fundamental notion of finiteness. He
considers whether the appeal to grounding permits a lexicalist approach that
would allow syntax to dispense not only with structural mutations such as
category-change and 'empty categories' but with universal grammar itself.

Morphology , Paradigms, and Periphrases is concerned with the role of the
lexicon, in particular its inflectional morphology, in mediating between the
substantively different categories of syntax and phonology. In the first part of
the book Professor Anderson looks at the central role of the paradigm in
reconciling the demands of syntactic categorization with the available means
of expression. He examines the expressive role of inflection, illustrating his
argument with Old English verb morphology. In the second part of the book
the author pursues the notion of grammatical periphrasis. He starts out from
its role as a solver of the problem of defective or incomplete paradigms and
then compares it with other analytic expressions. He concludes with a
discussion of why studies of grammatical periphrasis have focused on verbal
constructions. He looks at the mechanism by which grammatical periphrases
compensate for gaps in the finite verb paradigm and what this reveals about
the substantive differences between verbs and nouns.

Phonology-Syntax Analogies looks at the substantive and structural
analogies betwem phonology and syntax and the factors that cause such
analogies to break down. It considers the degree to which analogies between
syntax and phonology result from their both being representational
subsystems within the overall system of language. At the same time it
examines how far semantic and phonetic properties limit such analogies. The
book presents a powerful argument against the notion of an ungrounded
autonomous syntax, which it sustains and supports by detailed grammatical
analyses and a powerfully coherent conceptual understanding of the nature of

The many detailed proposals of John Anderson's fine trilogy are derived from
an over-arching conception of the nature of linguistic knowledge that is in turn
based on the grounding of syntax in semantics and the grounding of
phonology in phonetics, both convincingly subsumed under the notion of
cognitive salience. The Substance of Language is a major contribution to
linguistic theory and the history of linguistic thought.

Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199608331
Pages: 432
Prices: U.K. £ 85.00

Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199608324
Pages: 352
Prices: U.K. £ 75.00

Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199696024
Pages: 1232
Prices: U.K. £ 195.00

Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780199608317
Pages: 448
Prices: U.K. £ 85.00