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Review of Resource-Sensitivity, Binding and Anaphora
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 02:44:32 -0700 (PDT) From: Ahmad R. Lotfi Subject: Resource-Sensitivity, Binding and Anaphora
EDITORS: Kruijff, Geert-Jan M.; Oehrle, Richard T. TITLE: Resource-Sensitivity, Binding and Anaphora SERIES: Studoies in Linguistics and Philosophy 80 PUBLISHER: Kluwer Academic Publishers YEAR: 2003
Ahmad R. Lotfi, Azad University (Iran)
INTRODUCTION ''Resource-Sensitivity, Binding, and Anaphora'' is a collection of 10 papers (all written within the framework of Categorial Grammar (CG)) that mainly originated in a symposium on categorial approaches to binding and anaphora held in Utrecht (1999). The editors have organized the papers as 10 chapters in three parts: (I) Resources, structures, and composition, (II) Resources, binding, and anaphora, and (III) Appendices. The book begins with Kruijff and Oehrle's introduction, and two appendix chapters by Oehrle on resource sensitivity (''Resource sensitivity--A brief guide'' and ''Some precursors'') conclude it. The 8 chapters that come in between comprise the core of the book.
What follows next is a synopsis of these 8 papers. The reader of this review must bear in mind, however, that the book heavily relies on the Lambek Calculus, CG formalism and proof trees, which are inevitably ignored throughout this review as the symbols cannot be represented in a plain-text environment like the LINGUIST List's. Given the importance of formal language in categorial approaches to grammar on the one hand, and this limitation in typesetting, on the other, the synopsis is not particularly representative of the original format of presentation. This formal limitation also makes a critical evaluation of the book quite uncomfortable.
SYNOPSIS Johan van Benthem (University of Amsterdam & Stanford University) in his ''Categorial Grammar at a crossroads'' compares in detail two different categorial approaches to the study of grammar: proof theory inspired by the original work of Lambek (1958), and more recent developments represented by model theorists like Kurtonina (1995). While a model-theoretic perspective seems to be inevitable, van Benthem also examines the consequences of the enrichment of the original (Boolean) operators with additional model operators. He concludes that a number of models superficially as diverse as syntactic models, process models and geometrical spaces inevitably meet at the crossroads of CG.
''Language, lambdas, and logic'' by Reinhard Muskens (Tilburg University) reviews the typical problems inherent in both directed and undirected calculi and proposes to resolve such problems with a system in which signs have properties in several dimensions. Although he is still after a nondirectional calculus, his proposal differs from, say Oehrle's, in that ''the phrase structure terms ... will not directly denote (any) ... syntactic resource ... but a set of these ... .'' Moreover, ''for the basic combinatorics of the grammar, there will be no calculus at all (p. 36).''
In reaction to such generative accounts of languages Chomsky's in which LF serves as the level of representation at which interpretation takes place--hence, not compatible with the direct interpretation hypothesis, Pauline Jacobson's (Brown University) ''Binding without pronouns (and pronouns without binding)'' emphasises that the justification for LF depends upon an understanding of binding in terms of variables, and, as a result, is theory-internal. Her account of binding, on the other hand, is variable-free and compatible with the hypothesis. She provides a detailed account of variable-free analyses of relative clauses, ACD and ACD-like phenomena, and apparent exceptions to the i-within-i effect to support her case.
Gerhard Jager's (Universität Potsdam) chapter ''Resource sharing in type logical grammar'' proposes a logic similar to Jacobson's within the framework of Steedman's Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG). While maintaining the major characteristics of the Lambek calculus, e.g. decidability and strong nominalisation, it still remains compatible with Moortgat's Type Logical treatment of quantification covering such areas of language as pronoun binding, quantification, VP ellipsis, and how these three interact.
Following Kruijff and Korbayova (1998), Geert-Jan M. Kruijff (Saarland University) presents an information-structure sensitive discourse representation theory in his ''Binding across boundaries'' which is not concerned with lambda terms (though still categorial in approach) but formulas in a hybrid, modal logic. Emphasis is laid on contextuality to the effect that linguistic meaning cannot be evaluated out of a larger context. Information structure is understood as a means for expressing contextuality: ''[a] speaker employs information structure to present some parts of an expression's meaning as context-dependent, and others as context-affecting (p. 130).'' Intersentential binding of anaphora is the case where discourse accessibility relations are at work in a global context. Intra-sentential binding, on the other hand, is related to a local context. Nominals and jump-operators are employed to model contextuality as such.
Glyn Morrill (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Barcelona) in his ''On bound anaphora in type logical grammar'' focuses on the binding of both reflexive and non-reflexive personal pronouns in intrasentential contexts. As a development of Morrill 2000, the paper offers a type logical formulation of Montague's (1974)view of personal pronouns according to which such pronouns are bound anaphors preceded by an antecedent. Given Principle B, such pronouns must be free in their local domains. According to Morrill, ''Principle B violations are unacceptable because of their lack of communicative efficacy: if the local c-commanding reading was intended, the cheaper and less ambiguous reflexive form would have been used (p. 169).'' Morrill takes Chien and Wexler's (1990) empirical findings concerning the delay of Principle B in children's acquisition of English (in comparison with that of Principle A) to support his view.
Richard T. Oehrle's (Berkley, California) ''Structural communication in binding'' is an exploration of linearity in linguistic expressions. The linear character, however, seems not to hold anymore when it comes to examples involving pronouns. In an example like [Cain blames himself |- - ((blame c) C) : s], ''the subexpression *Cain* corresponds to two occurrences of the subterm c, while the subexpression *himself* corresponds to nothing at all (p. 180)!'' The paper explores how functional theories of anaphora take care of this problem in three steps: (1) Copying the antecedent, (2) The copy communicating with a function associated with the anaphora, and (3) The function getting applied to the copy. The third step results in the 'binding' of the pronoun.
Anna Szabolcsi (New York University) in her ''Binding on the fly: Cross- sentential anaphora in variable-free semantics'' investigates the question of implementing binding by lexical compilation v. extra- lexical mechanisms of type inference. The author favours the latter approach with a duplicator as a combinator identifying two arguments of the function it operates upon. For Szabolcsi, the operator is not built into the lexical semantics of the pronoun but applied ''on the fly'' as a type-shifter.
CRITICAL EVALUATION This collection of papers is a fresh contribution to the study of binding in generative linguistics. Variable-free categorial accounts of binding are of special significance in this respect as they may pave the way for dispensing with LF as an interface level where semantic interpretation takes place. This lends support to the direct interpretation hypothesis, which is also in harmony with the unitarianist model of language as a radical minimalist account of grammar (see http://www.geocities.com/arlotfi/lotfipage.html for more on the topic).
The high theoretical values of such accounts of binding, however, urge CG theorists to make their ideas more communicable to mainstream generative linguists--what this collection of papers still fail to do. Apparently, the editors themselves are aware of such a need: they have included two papers in the appendix to provide the background. But Oehrle's papers don't do much help, I believe, as they are still too technical to serve the purpose. Moreover, the contributions are too different (in their approaches, and also the range of topics they cover) to make any other introduction feasible either. A better (though more painful) strategy would be ask contributors themselves to begin with a brief background to their topic, and keep the introductory papers confined to the essentials of CG formalism and history. A list of symbols and technical conventions at the beginning of the volume would also prove helpful.
The book is also in need of careful editorial work. The German example on page 26 has no English gloss. the 5th sentence on page 97 reads: ''Thus it is not surprising that especially bound pronouns pronouns, bound have received considerable attention in the literature.'' In figure 4.11 on page 107, *Harry* should be replaced with *Bill*. Some sentences on pages 139 and 140 sound ungrammatical to my ear, e.g. ''Each of these partial lambda-DRSs need to be combined with ... .'' Left idempotence on p. 232 (A conj. A |- B) should be corrected as (A conj. A |- A). And in the final paragraph of the final paper, which apparently was originally intended to appear at the beginning of the book, Oehrle writes: ''A similar range of alternatives is explored in the papers to follow (p. 286).''
REFERENCES Chien, Y. C. and K. Wexler (1990). Children's knowledge of locality conditions in binding as evidence for the modularity of syntax and pragmatics. Language Acquisition, 1:225-295.
Kruijff-Korbayova, I. (1998). The dynamic potential of topic and focus: A Praguian approach to discourse representation theory. PhD dissertation, Faculty ofM athematics and Physics, Charles university, Prague, Czech Republic.
Kurtonina, N. (1995). Frames and labels. A modal analysis of categorial reference. PhD dissertation, OTS Utrecht and ILLC Amsterdam.
Lambek, J. (1958). The mathematics of sentence structure. American Mathematical Monthly, 65:154-170.
Montague, R. (1974). The proper treatment of quantification in ordinary English. In Formal Philosophy: Selected Papers of Richard Montague, pages 247-270.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Dr. Ahmad R. Lotfi, Assistant Professor of linguistics at the English Department of Esfahan Azad University, where he teaches linguistics to graduate students of TESOL. His research interests include minimalist syntax, second language acquisition studies in generative grammar, and Persian linguistics.