LINGUIST List 9.937

Wed Jun 24 1998

Books: Syntax

Editor for this issue: Anita Huang <>

Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.


  • Jud Wolfskill, Syntax: Optimality and Competition in Syntax
  • Vivien Eng, Syntax: Structure, Meaning, and Function A Minimalist Introduction Syntactic Theory and the Structure of English

    Message 1: Syntax: Optimality and Competition in Syntax

    Date: Tue, 23 Jun 1998 16:32:54 -0400
    From: Jud Wolfskill <wolfskilMIT.EDU>
    Subject: Syntax: Optimality and Competition in Syntax

    The following is a book which readers of this list might find of interest. For more information please visit


    Is the Best Good Enough? Optimality and Competition in Syntax

    edited by Pilar Barbosa, Danny Fox, Paul Hagstrom, Martha McGinnis, and David Pesetsky

    Recent developments in linguistic theory have led to a reconsideration of the role of optimality in the overall architecture of the grammar. Emerging from this research is the idea that different components of the grammar interact to yield the best choice from a set of candidate derivations. This idea departs from traditional approaches to the output of linguistic levels in generative grammar, in which rules, principles, and constraints interact to determine the grammatical status of each linguistic object independent of the status of possible competitors.

    In the past five years, interest in the linguistic role of optimality has been sparked by the sharpened notions of "economy" in Chomsky's Minimalist Program and by Prince and Smolensky's Optimality Theory, originally developed for phonology. Work on these ideas has raised many new questions. These include new versions of an old debate between constraints on derivations and constraints on representations, and entirely new questions about the nature of the candidate set, as well as questions about learnability and computability. Writing from a broad range of empirical and theoretical perspectives, the contributors to this volume examine the role of competition in syntax and in syntactic interfaces with semantics, phonology, and pragmatics, as well as implications for language acquisition and processing.

    Pilar Barbosa is at the University of Minho, Portugal. Danny Fox, Paul Hagstrom, Martha McGinnis, and David Pesetsky are all in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


    Peter Ackema, Eric J. Bakovic, Joan Bresnan, Kevin Broihier, Luigi Burzio, Noam Chomsky, Danny Fox, Edward Gibson, Jane Grimshaw, Yookyung Kim, Geraldine Legendre, Masanori Nakamura, Ad Neeleman, Mark Newson, David Pesetsky, Stanley Peters, Geoffrey Poole, Douglas Pulleyblank, Vieri Samek-Lodovici, Paul Smolensky, Bruce Tesar, William J. Turkel, Colin Wilson.

    A copublication of The MIT Press and MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.

    April 1998

    7 x 10, 440 pp.

    $25.00 paper

    ISBN 0-262-52249-7

    $50.00 cloth

    ISBN 0-262-02448-9


    Jud Wolfskill Associate Publicist Phone: (617)253-2079 MIT Press Fax: (617) 253-1709 Five Cambridge Center E-mail: Cambridge, MA 02142-1493

    Message 2: Syntax: Structure, Meaning, and Function A Minimalist Introduction Syntactic Theory and the Structure of English

    Date: 22 Jun 98 09:52:05 -0400
    From: Vivien Eng <>
    Subject: Syntax: Structure, Meaning, and Function A Minimalist Introduction Syntactic Theory and the Structure of English


    Robert D. Van Valin, Jr. (State University of New York, Buffalo); Syntax: Structure, Meaning, and Function; ISBN: 0-521-49565-2; Hardback, 6 x 9, 742 pp.; Pub. Date: 10/31/97; PUBLISHER:Cambridge University Press; $74.95;

    This book is an introduction to syntactic theory and analysis that can be used for both introductory and advanced courses in theoretical syntax. It presents syntactic phenomena from a wide range of languages and introduces students to the major typological issues that syntactic theories must address. A generous number of exercises is included, and each chapter contains suggestions for further reading that encompass work from many theoretical perspectives.; Contents: 1. The goals of linguistic theory; 2. Syntactic structure I: simple clauses and noun phrases; 3. Semantic representation I: verbs and arguments; 4. Semantic epresentation II: macroroles, the lexicon & noun phrases; 5. Information structure; 6. Grammatical relations; 7. Linking syntax and semantic! s in simple sentences; 8. Syntactic structure II: complex sentences and noun phrases; 9. Linking syntax and semantics in complex sentences; Epilogue: the goals of linguistic theory revisited; Notes; References.;

    Order Info:

    A MINIMALIST INTRODUCTION Andrew Radford (University of Essex); Syntax: A Minimalist Introduction; ISBN: 0-521-58122-2; Hardback, 6 7/8 X 9 3/4, 294 pp.; Pub. Date: 6/30/97; PUBLISHER:Cambridge University Press; $54.95;

    This textbook is a concise, readable introduction to current work in syntactic theory, particularly to Chomsky's Minimalist program. It gives an overview of theoretical concepts and descriptive devices. The discussion is based on varieties of English (Modern Standard, Belfast, Shakespearean, Jamaican Creole) and does not assume prior knowledge of syntax. There are exercises and a glossary. It is an abridged version of Radford's major new textbook ^ISyntactic Theory and the Structure of English: A Minimalist Approach^R (CUP, 1997).; Contents: 1. Grammar; 2. Categories; 3. Structure; 4. Empty categories; 5. Head movement; 6. Operator movement; 7 Subjects; 8. A-movement; 9 VP shells; 10 Agreement projections.;

    Order Info:


    Andrew Radford (University of Essex); Syntactic Theory and the Structure of English: A Minimalist Approach; ISBN: 0-521-47125-7; Hardback, 6 X 9, 570 pp.; Pub. Date: 5/31/97; PUBLISHER:Cambridge University Press; $69.95;

    A new textbook written for students with no background in syntax, which introduces them to key concepts of Chomsky's Minimalist program (e.g. merger and movement, checking, economy and greed, split VPs, agreement projections), as well as providing detailed analysis of the syntax of a range of different construction types. Illustrative material is mainly drawn from varieties of English (Belfast English, Shakespearean English, Jamaican Creole, etc.). There is a substantial glossary and extensive workbook section with helpful hints and model answers.; Contents: 1. Principles and parameters; 2. Categories and features; 3. Syntactic structure; 4. Empty categories; 5. Checking; 6. Head movement; 7. Operator movement; 8.A-ovement; 9 VP shells; 10 Agreement projection!;

    Order Info:

    The following contributing LINGUIST publishers have made their backlists available on the World Wide Web:

    1998 Contributors

  • Addison Wesley Longman
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Garland Publishing
  • Holland Academic Graphics (HAG)
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • Oxford University Press
  • Francais Pratique
  • Routledge
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics
  • Mouton de Gruyter