LINGUIST List 10.608

Tue Apr 27 1999

Books: Syntax

Editor for this issue: Scott Fults <scottlinguistlist.org>


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Directory

  1. Maureen Burke, Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction, I. Sag & T. Wasow

Message 1: Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction, I. Sag & T. Wasow

Date: Thu, 22 Apr 1999 11:41:00 -0700
From: Maureen Burke <mburketavel.stanford.edu>
Subject: Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction, I. Sag & T. Wasow


Sag, Ivan A. (Stanford University) and Thomas Wasow (Stanford
University); SYNTACTIC THEORY: A FORMAL INTRODUCTION; ISBN:
1-57586-160-7 (paper), 1-57586-161-5 (cloth); 482 pp. CSLI
Publications 1999: http://csli-publications.stanford.edu/ 

email: pubsroslin.stanford.edu


SYNTACTIC THEORY: A FORMAL INTRODUCTION is unlike any other
introductory textbook on the market; it marks a return to 'generative
grammar' in its original sense. This book focuses on the development of
precisely formulated grammars whose empirical predictions can be
directly tested. There is considerable emphasis on prediction and
evaluation of grammatical hypotheses, as well as on integrating
syntactic hypotheses with matters of semantic analysis. Problem solving
is also emphasized; the extensive problems sets draw from a variety of
languages other than English. 

	Special attention is paid to the nature of lexical entries and the
organization of the lexicon in terms of type hierarchies and constraint
inheritance. The theoretical perspective of the book is presented in
the context of current models of language processing, which provide
motivation for a constraint-based, lexicalist grammatical architecture,
whose value has already been demonstrated in computer language
processing applications.

	The book begins with the inadequacy of context-free phrase structure
grammars, motivating the introduction of feature structures, types and
type constraints as ways of expressing linguistic generalizations. Step
by step, the student is led to discover a grammar that covers the core
areas of English syntax that have been central to syntactic theory in
the last quarter century, including: complementation, control, 'raising
constructions', passives, the auxiliary system, and the analysis of
long distance dependency constructions. Special attention is given to
the treatment of dialect variation, especially with respect to African
American Vernacular English, which has been of considerable interest
with regard to the educational practice of American school systems.






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