LINGUIST List 20.4389

Fri Dec 18 2009

Books: Syntax/Morphology/Ling Theories: Miyagawa

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <>

        1.    Diane Denner, Why Agree? Why Move?: Miyagawa

Message 1: Why Agree? Why Move?: Miyagawa
Date: 18-Dec-2009
From: Diane Denner <>
Subject: Why Agree? Why Move?: Miyagawa
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Title: Why Agree? Why Move? Subtitle: Unifying Agreement-Based and Discourse Configurational Languages Series Title: Linguistic Inquiry Monograph Published: 2009 Publisher: MIT Press

Book URL:

Author: Shigeru Miyagawa Hardback: ISBN: 0262013614 9780262013611 Pages: 200 Price: U.S. $ 50.00
Paperback: ISBN: 0262513552 9780262513555 Pages: 200 Price: U.S. $ 25.00

An unusual property of human language is the existence of movementoperations. Modern syntactic theory from its inception has dealt with thepuzzle of why movement should occur. In this monograph, Shigeru Miyagawacombines this question with another, that of the occurrence of agreementsystems. Using data from a wide range of languages, he argues that movementand agreement work in tandem to achieve a specific goal: to imbue naturallanguage with enormous expressive power. Without movement and agreement, hecontends, human language would be merely a shadow of itself, with severelimitation on what can be expressed.

Miyagawa investigates a variety of languages, including English, Japanese,Bantu languages, Romance languages, Finnish, and Chinese. He finds thatevery language manifests some kind of agreement, some in the form of thefamiliar person/number/gender system and others in the form of what KatalinÉ. Kiss calls "discourse configurational" features such as topic and focus.A key proposal of his argument is that the computational system in syntaxdeals with the wide range of agreement types uniformly-- as if there werejust one system-- and an integral part of this computation turns out to bemovement. Why Agree? Why Move? is unique in proposing a unified system formovement and agreement across language groups that are vastly diverse--Bantu languages, East Asian languages, Indo-European languages, and others.

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories                             Morphology                             Syntax
Written In: English (eng )

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