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Current Studies in Linguistics Series

Found in Reference
The Structure of the Japanese Language by Susumu Kuno
Universals in Comparative Morphology by Jonathan David Bobaljik
The Boundaries of Babel, second edition by Andrea Moro; foreword by Noam Chomsky; translated by Ivano Caponigro and Daniel B. Kane

Current Studies in Linguistics Series : Titles in Order

Book 50
An argument for, and account of linguistic universals in the morphology of comparison, combining empirical breadth and theoretical rigor.This groundbreaking study of the morphology of comparison yields a surprising result: that even in suppletion (the wholesale replacement of one stem by a phonologically unrelated stem, as in good-better-best) there emerge strikingly robust patterns, virtually exceptionless generalizations across languages. Jonathan David Bobaljik describes the systematicity in suppletion, and argues that at least five generalizations are solid contenders for the status of linguistic universals. The major topics discussed include suppletion, comparative and superlative formation, deadjectival verbs, and lexical decomposition. Bobaljik’s primary focus is on morphological theory, but his argument also aims to integrate evidence from a variety of subfields into a coherent whole.In the course of his analysis, Bobaljik argues that the assumptions needed bear on choices among theoretical frameworks and that the framework of Distributed Morphology has the right architecture to support the account. In addition to the theoretical implications of the generalizations, Bobaljik suggests that the striking patterns of regularity in what otherwise appears to be the most irregular of linguistic domains provide compelling evidence for Universal Grammar.The book strikes a unique balance between empirical breadth and theoretical detail. The phenomenon that is the main focus of the argument, suppletion in adjectival gradation, is rare enough that Bobaljik is able to present an essentially comprehensive description of the facts; at the same time, it is common enough to offer sufficient variation to explore the question of universals over a significant dataset of more than three hundred languages.
Book 46
The new edition of a pioneering book that examines research at the intersection of contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences.In The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro describes an encounter between two cultures: contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences. As a leading theoretical linguist in the generative tradition and also a neuroscientist, Moro is uniquely equipped to tell this story. Moro examines what he calls the “hidden” revolution in contemporary science: the discovery that the number of possible grammars is not infinite and that their number is biologically limited. This will require us to rethink not just the fundamentals of linguistics and neurosciences but also our view of the human mind. Moro searches for neurobiological correlates of “the boundaries of Babel”—the constraints on the apparent chaotic variation in human languages—by using an original experimental design based on artificial languages exploiting neuroimaging techniques. This second edition includes a new chapter in which Moro extends the exploration of the boundaries of Babel in search of the source of order with which all human languages are endowed. Reflecting on the emerging methodology that obtains physiological data from awake brain surgery, Moro shifts from considering where the neurophysiological processes underlying linguistic competence take place—that is, where neurons are activated—to considering the neuronal code involved in these processes—that is, what neurons communicate to each other. This edition also features a substantive new foreword by Noam Chomsky synthesizing the major issues theoretical syntax will face in the near future.
Book 45
Essays by leading theoretical linguists—including Noam Chomsky, B. Elan Dresher, Richard Kayne, Howard Lasnik, Morris Halle, Norbert Hornstein, Henk van Riemsdijk, and Edwin Williams—reflect on Jean-Roger Vergnaud’s influence in the field and discuss current theoretical issuesJean-Roger Vergnaud’s work on the foundational issues in linguistics has proved influential over the past three decades. At MIT in 1974, Vergnaud (now holder of the Andrew W. Mellon Professorship in Humanities at the University of Southern California) made a proposal in his Ph.D. thesis that has since become, in somewhat modified form, the standard analysis for the derivation of relative clauses. Vergnaud later integrated the proposal within a broader theory of movement and abstract case. These topics have remained central to theoretical linguistics. In this volume, essays by leading theoretical linguists attest to the importance of Jean-Roger Vergnaud’s contributions to linguistics. The essays first discuss issues in syntax, documenting important breakthroughs in the development of the principles and parameters framework and including a famous letter (unpublished until recently) from Vergnaud to Noam Chomsky and Howard Lasnik commenting on the first draft of their 1977 paper “Filters and Controls.” Vergnaud’s writings on phonology (which, the editors write, “take a definite syntactic turn”) have also been influential, and the volume concludes with two contributions to that field. The essays, rewarding from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, not only offer insight into Vergnaud’s impact on the field but also describe current work on the issues he introduced into the scholarly debate. Contributors
Joseph Aoun, Elabbas Benmamoun, Cedric Boeckx, Noam Chomsky, B. Elan Dresher, Robert Freidin, Morris Halle, Norbert Hornstein, Richard S. Kayne, Samuel Jay Keyser, Howard Lasnik, Yen-hui Audrey Li, M. Rita Manzini, Karine Megerdoomian, David Michaels, Henk van Riemsdijk, Alain Rouveret, Leonardo M. Savoia, Jean-Roger Vergnaud, Edwin Williams
Book 44
The first modern pedagogically oriented reference to the grammar of standard Basque (Euskara Batua), in two volumes: Part 1 presents detailed grammar lessons, Part 2 glosses and supplementary materials.A pre-Indo-European language with no known relatives, the Basque language survives in the Basque region of Spain and France, with about half a million native or near-native speakers. The local diversity of the language, with no fewer than eight different dialects, has hindered the development of a supradialectical written tradition. Twentieth-century Basque scholars recognized that the introduction of a standard language for written communication was vital for the continued existence of Basque, and the Euskaltzaindia, the Royal Academy of the Basque Language, has supervised the creation of a new shared form, Euskara Batua (“Unified Basque”), to be used as a written standard. Standard Basque: A Progressive Grammar is the first modern pedagogically oriented reference grammar in English for this new standard language. It guides the reader progressively through 33 chapters covering topics that range from orthography and pronunciation to case endings, verb forms, ergativity, and the antipassive and allocutive forms. In addition to information on the various dialects, the book includes thousands of example sentences drawn from Basque literature and extensive vocabulary listings. Most chapters conclude with exercises. Part 1 covers the grammar and Part 2 contains glosses for the example sentences and indexes.This book was prepared for publication after the author’s death by Virginia de Rijk-Chan with Armand De Coene and Fleur Veraart and the assistance of linguists at Cornell University, Leiden University, and the University of the Basque Country. The glosses and supplementary material in Part 2 were prepared by Armand De Coene.
Book 30
This book presents a theory of speech-sound generation in the human vocal system.This book presents a theory of speech-sound generation in the human vocal system. The comprehensive acoustic theory serves as one basis for defining categories of speech sounds used to form distinctions between words in languages. The author begins with a review of the anatomy and physiology of speech production, then covers source mechanisms, the vocal tract as an acoustic filter, relevant aspects of auditory psychophysics and physiology, and phonological representations. In the remaining chapters he presents a detailed examination of vowels, consonants, and the influence of context on speech-sound production. Although he focuses mainly on the sounds of English, he touches briefly on sounds in other languages.The book will serve as a reference for speech scientists, speech pathologists, linguists interested in phonetics and phonology, psychologists interested in speech perception and production, and engineers concerned with speech processing applications.
Book 18
Semantic Structures is a large-scale study of conceptual structure and its lexical and syntactic expression in English that builds on the system of Conceptual Semantics described in Ray Jackendoff’s earlier books Semantics and Cognition and Consciousness and the Computational Mind.Jackendoff summarizes the relevant arguments in his two previous books, setting out the basic parameters for the formalization of meaning, and comparing his mentalistic approach with Fodor’s Language of Thought hypothesis. He then takes up the Problem of Meaning, extending the range of semantic fields encompassed by the Conceptual Semantics formalism, and the Problem of Correspondence, formalizing the relation between semantic and syntactic structure. Both of these problems must be fully addressed in order to develop a general theory of language that is concerned with syntax and semantics and their points of connection.Few books on lexical semantics present such a comprehensive analysis of such a wide range of phenomena from a unified perspective. Besides discussing the conceptual structures of hundreds of words and constructions, Jackendoff extends and deepens the theory to come to grips with such crucial issues as roles and marking; arguments, modifiers, and adjuncts; binding and control; and the thematic linking hierarchy.
Book 16
Language and Problems of Knowledge is Noam Chomsky’s most accessible statement on the nature, origins, and current concerns of the field of linguistics. He frames the lectures with four fundamental questions: What do we know when we are able to speak and understand a language? How is this knowledge acquired? How do we use this knowledge? What are the physical mechanisms involved in the representation, acquisition, and use of this knowledge? Starting from basic concepts, Chomsky sketches the present state of our answers to these questions and offers prospects for future research. Much of the discussion revolves around our understanding of basic human nature (that we are unique in being able to produce a rich, highly articulated, and complex language on the basis of quite rudimentary data), and it is here that Chomsky’s ideas on language relate to his ideas on politics.The initial versions of these lectures were given at the Universidad Centroamericana in Managua, Nicaragua, in March 1986. A parallel set of lectures on contemporary political issues given at the same time has been published by South End Press under the title On Power and Ideology: The Managua Lectures.Language and Problems of Knowledge is sixteenth in the series Current Studies in Linguistics, edited by Jay Keyser.
Book 8
This book emphasizes the role of semantics as a bridge between the theory of language and the theories of other cognitive capacities such as visual perception and motor control.
Book 3
Conventional grammars tell us when we can use given grammatical patterns. However, they almost invariably fail to tell us when we cannot use them. Many of the chapters of this book are concerned with the latter problem. They attempt to explain why some sentences that should be grammatical according to the explanations given in conventional grammars are in fact ungrammatical. In this sense, the book can be called a grammar of ungrammatical sentences…. It deals only with those problems of Japanese—and only a handful of them—that are either completely ignored or erroneously treated in conventional grammars. For these features I hope that the book will give the reader a revealing account of a kind seldom found in other Japanese grammars or in grammars of any other languages.
—from the author’s PrefaceSome features of Japanese are peculiarities of the language, while others are shared by English and various other languages of the world. At times two features, one in Japanese and one, for example, in English, that may look totally unrelated on casual inspection turn out to be a manifestation of the same principle, either syntactic or semantic, which governs the two languages. Whenever possible each feature of Japanese that the book discusses is contrasted with the features in English that are overtly or covertly related to it, and the similarities and differences that exist between the two languages with respect to this feature are examined. Thus the book can also be called a contrastive grammar of Japanese and English.The book reveals a wide variety of semantic and syntactic factors (some of them not very well known to linguists working on English) that control the usage of certain grammatical patterns. It also shows what kinds of sentences the linguist working on a nonnative language should check with native speakers of the language to prove or disprove his initial hypothesis. So in a third sense, Professor Kuno’s study might be called a textbook of field methods in linguistic analysis.Because The Structure of the Japanese Language is both descriptive and analytical (the generalizations given in the book have been developed within the framework of the theory of transformational grammar but are presented without recourse to the complex formalisms of the theory), it will prove useful both as a basic handbook of supplementary reading for second-year or more advanced courses in Japanese and as a source of material for students and researchers doing work in Japanese or non-Indo-European linguistics.This is volume three in the series, Current Studies in Linguistics.

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