Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


How Traditions Live and Die

By Olivier Morin

This book brings together cognitive science and quantitative cultural history to look into the causes of cultural survival.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

By Silvina Montrul

"This work centres on the grammatical development of the heritage language and the language learning trajectory of heritage speakers, synthesizing recent experimental research."

Review of  Resource-Sensitivity, Binding and Anaphora

Reviewer: Ahmad R. Lotfi
Book Title: Resource-Sensitivity, Binding and Anaphora
Book Author: Geert-Jan M. Kruijff Richard T. Oehrle
Publisher: Kluwer
Linguistic Field(s): Computational Linguistics
Cognitive Science
Issue Number: 15.2326

Discuss this Review
Help on Posting
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)

''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.

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 (Universit├Ąt 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

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

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 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).''

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.
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.

Amazon Store: