LINGUIST List 10.62

Fri Jan 15 1999

Books: Syntax/Discourse

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  1. Rint Sybesma, Joao Costa, Word Order Variation

Message 1: Joao Costa, Word Order Variation

Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 19:22:47 +0100
From: Rint Sybesma <>
Subject: Joao Costa, Word Order Variation

N e w f r o m H o l l a n d A c a d e m i c G r a p h i c s

Joao Costa,
Word Order Variation. A constraint-based approach

 Word Order Variation is an investigation of several phenomena of
apparent free variation. The main hypothesis is that many cases of
apparent optionality are instances of interactions between syntax and
discourse. Costa argues that this type of interaction may be formalized
within the theoretical framework of Optimality Theory.
 Costa argues that monosyllabic adverbs provide evidence for
short-verb-movement and for obligatory object movement in English.
These adverbs and those that are ambiguous between manner and
subject-oriented readings provide empirical evidence against
 Concentrating on Portuguese, Costa shows that postverbal subjects
in this language are in SpecVP, and that objects may scramble as in
Germanic. The apparent free word order in Portuguese is claimed to be
discourse-conditioned: sentence-final position is reserved for focused
elements, in accordance with rules of sentence stress assignment. Costa
explicitly compares this prosodic-based approach to focus to
LF-movement approaches, claiming that the latter are not well
 At the end of the dissertation, Costa compares the OT approach to
alternative parametric approaches, and he tries to establish for the
evaluation of the optimality theoretical approach.

1. Introduction Part I. Structural representation of the candidates 2.
The distribution of adverbs 3. The distribution of arguments 4. Focus
in situ Part II. Constraint interaction. 5. Word order and constraint
interaction 6. Word order typology in OT 7. Comparing frameworks:
parameters vs soft constraints 8. Summary and conclusions

HIL/Leiden University dissertation. [LOT International Series, 14.]
December 1998. ISBN 90-5569-058-9. Paperback. xi+447 pp. Price for
individuals ordering direct from HAG only: NLG 61,40 (excl. P&P).

Holland Academic Graphics
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The Netherlands

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