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Linguistic Inquiry Monographs Series

Found in Reference
Barriers by Noam Chomsky
A Theory of Indexical Shift by Amy Rose Deal
Merge by Barbara Citko and Martina Gracanin-Yuksek

Linguistic Inquiry Monographs Series : Titles in Order

Book 83
An argument that Merge is binary but its binarity refers to syntactic positions rather than objects.

In this book, Barbara Citko and Martina Gračanin-Yüksek examine the constraints on Merge–the basic structure-building operation in minimalist syntax–from a multidominant perspective. They maintain that Merge is binary, but argue that the binarity of Merge refers to syntactic positions Merge relates: what has typically been formulated as a constraint that prevents Merge from combining more than two syntactic objects is a constraint on Merge’s relating more than two syntactic positions.
Book 82
A comprehensive overview of the semantics and syntax of indexical shift that develops a constrained typology of the phenomenon across languages.The phenomenon of indexical shift—whereby indexicals embedded in speech or attitude reports draw their meaning from an attitude event rather than the utterance context—has been reported in languages spanning five continents and at least ten language families. In this book, Amy Rose Deal offers a comprehensive overview of the semantics and syntax of indexical shift and develops a constrained typology of the phenomenon across languages—a picture of variation that is both rich enough to capture the known facts and restrictive enough to make predictions about currently unknown data points. Deal draws on studies of indexical shift in a broad range of languages, focusing especially on Nez Perce, Zazaki, Korean, and Uyghur. Using new data from fieldwork, Deal presents an in-depth case study of indexical shift in the Nez Perce language, and uses this evidence to propose a novel theoretical approach based on the meaning and grammar of shifty operators. She explores several dimensions of variation related to indexical shift across and within languages, showing how the cross-linguistic patterns can be explained (and constrained) within the shifty operator view. Finally, she contrasts indexical shift with surface-similar phenomena, clarifying the controls needed to test the constrained typology on new data sets.
Book 81
A comprehensive theory of selective opacity effects—configurations in which syntactic domains are opaque to some processes but transparent to others—within a Minimalist framework.In this book, Stefan Keine investigates in detail “selective opacity”— configurations in which syntactic domains are opaque to some processes but transparent to others—and develops a comprehensive theory of these syntactic configurations within a contemporary Minimalist framework. Although such configurations have traditionally been analyzed in terms of restrictions on possible sequences of movement steps, Keine finds that analogous restrictions govern long-distance dependencies that do not involve movement. He argues that the phenomenon is more widespread and abstract than previously assumed. He proposes a new approach to such effects, according to which probes that initiate the operation Agree are subject to “horizons,” which terminate their searches. Selective opacity effects raise important questions about the nature of locality in natural language, the representation of movement-type asymmetries, correlations between clause structure and locality, and possible interactions between syntactic dependencies. With a focus on in-depth case studies of Hindi-Urdu and German, Keine offers detailed investigations of movement dependencies, long-distance agreement, wh-dependencies, the A/A’ distinction, restructuring, freezing effects, successive cyclicity, and phase theory. Keine’s account offers a thorough understanding of selective opacity and the systematic overarching generalizations to which it is subject.
Book 80
An investigation of the syntax and semantics of wh-questions through the lens of intervention effects, offering a new proposal on overt and covert wh-movement.In this book, Hadas Kotek investigates the syntax and semantics of wh-questions, offering a new solution to a central question in the study of interrogatives: given that overt wh-movement is cross-linguistically common, is syntactic movement a prerequisite for the interpretation of wh-phrases? Some linguists argue that all wh-phrases undergo movement to interrogative C, even if covertly; others propose mechanisms of in-situ interpretation that do not require any movement. Kotek moves beyond these positions to argue that wh-in-situ does move covertly, but not necessarily to C. Instead, she contends, wh-in-situ undergoes a short movement step akin to covert scrambling. This makes the LF behavior of English parallel to the overt behavior of German.Kotek presents a series of self-paced reading experiments, alongside judgment data from German, to substantiate the idea of covert scrambling. She introduces new diagnostics for the underlying structure of questions, using as a principal tool the distribution of intervention effects. This system allows her to offer the first unified account for a range of phenomena of interrogative syntax-semantics as pied-piping, superiority effects, the cross-linguistically varied syntax of questions, and intervention effects. Kotek develops a theory of interrogative syntax-semantics; studies the phenomena of intervention effects in wh-questions, proposing that the nature of intervention is crucially tied to the availability of wh-movement in a question; and shows that covert wh-movement should be modeled as a short scrambling operation rather than an unbounded, successive-cyclic, and potentially long-distance movement operation.
Book 79
An argument that complex cardinals are not extra-linguistic but built using standard syntax and standard principles of semantic composition.In Cardinals, Tania Ionin and Ora Matushansky offer a semantic and syntactic analysis of nominal expressions containing complex cardinals (for example, two hundred and thirty-five books). They show that complex cardinals are not an extra-linguistic phenomenon (as is often assumed) but built using standard syntax and standard principles of semantic composition. Complex cardinals can tell us as much about syntactic structure and semantic composition as other linguistic expressions.Ionin and Matushansky show that their analysis accounts for the internal composition of cardinal-containing constructions cross-linguistically, providing examples from more than fifteen languages. They demonstrate that their proposal is compatible with a variety of related phenomena, including modified numerals, measure nouns, and fractions. Ionin and Matushansky show that a semantic or syntactic account that captures the behavior of a simplex cardinal (such as five) does not automatically transfer to a complex cardinal (such as five thousand and forty-six) and propose a compositional analysis of complex cardinals. They consider the lexical categories of simplex cardinals and their role in the construction of complex cardinals; examine in detail the numeral systems of selected languages, including Slavic and Semitic languages; discuss linguistic constructions that contain cardinals; address extra-linguistic conventions on the construction of complex cardinals; and, drawing on data from Modern Hebrew, Basque, Russian, and Dutch, show that modified numerals and partitives are compatible with their analysis.
Book 78
A proposal that person features do not have inherent content but are used to navigate a “person space” at the heart of every pronominal expression.This book offers a significant reconceptualization of the person system in natural language. The authors, leading scholars in syntax and its interfaces, propose that person features do not have inherent content but are used to navigate a “person space” at the heart of every pronominal expression. They map the journey of person features in grammar, from semantics through syntax to the system of morphological realization. Such an in-depth cross-modular study allows the development of a theory in which assumptions made about the behavior of a given feature in one module bear on possible assumptions about its behavior in other modules. The authors’ new theory of person, built on a sparse set of two privative person features, delivers a typologically adequate inventory of persons; captures the semantics of personal pronouns, impersonal pronouns, and R-expressions; accounts for aspects of their syntactic behavior; and explains patterns of person-related syncretism in the realization of pronouns and inflectional endings. The authors discuss numerous observations from the literature, defend a number of theoretical choices that are either new or not generally accepted, and present novel empirical findings regarding phenomena as different as honorifics, number marking, and unagreement.
Book 77
A new theory of the syntax-semantics interface that relies on hierarchical orderings in language, with the English auxiliary system as its empirical ground.Research in syntax has found that there is a hierarchical ordering of projections within the verb phrase across languages (although researchers differ with respect to how fine grained they assume the hierarchy to be). In Situations and Syntactic Structures, Gillian Ramchand explores the hierarchy of the verb phrase from a semantic perspective, attempting to derive it from semantically sorted zones in the compositional semantics. The empirical ground is the auxiliary ordering found in the grammar of English. The “situation” in the title refers to the semanticists’ notion of eventuality that is the central element of the ontology of the formal semantics of verbal meaning. Ramchand discusses the semantic notion of situations in relation to the hierarchical ordering evidenced in syntactic structures and tries to bridge semantic and syntactic ontologies. She proposes and formalizes a new theory of semantic zones, and presents an explicitly semantic and morphological analysis of all the auxiliary constructions of English that derive their rigid order of composition without recourse to lexical item–specific ordering statements.
Book 76
An examination of the evidence for and the theoretical implications of a universal word order constraint, with data from a wide range of languages.This book presents evidence for a universal word order constraint, the Final-over-Final Condition (FOFC), and discusses the theoretical implications of this phenomenon. FOFC is a syntactic condition that disallows structures where a head-initial phrase is contained in a head-final phrase in the same extended projection/domain. The authors argue that FOFC is a linguistic universal, not just a strong tendency, and not a constraint on processing. They discuss the effects of the universal in various domains, including the noun phrase, the adjective phrase, the verb phrase, and the clause. The book draws on data from a wide range of languages, including Hindi, Turkish, Basque, Finnish, Afrikaans, German, Hungarian, French, English, Italian, Romanian, Arabic, Hebrew, Mandarin, Pontic Greek, Bagirmi, Dholuo, and Thai. FOFC, the authors argue, is important because it is the only known example of a word order asymmetry pertaining to the order of heads. As such, it has significant repercussions for theories connecting the narrow syntax to linear order.
Book 75
An argument that agreement and agreementless languages are unified under an expanded view of grammatical features including both phi-features and certain discourse configurational features.Much attention in theoretical linguistics in the generative and Minimalist traditions is concerned with issues directly or indirectly related to movement. The EPP (extended projection principle), introduced by Chomsky in 1981, appeared to coincide with morphological agreement, and agreement came to play a central role as the driver of movement and other narrow-syntax operations. In this book, Shigeru Miyagawa continues his investigation into a computational equivalent for agreement in agreementless languages such as Japanese. Miyagawa extends his theory of Strong Uniformity, introduced in his earlier book, Why Agree? Why Move? Unifying Agreement-Based and Discourse-Configurational Languages (MIT Press). He argues that agreement and agreementless languages are unified under an expanded view of grammatical features including both phi-features and discourse configurational features of topic and focus. He looks at various combinations of these two grammatical features across a number of languages and phenomena, including allocutive agreement, root phenomena, topicalization, “why” questions, and case alternation.
Book 74
A groundbreaking, comprehensive formal theory of grammatical person that recasts its empirical foundations and re-envisions its theoretical core.Impossible Persons, Daniel Harbour’s comprehensive and groundbreaking formal theory of grammatical person, upends understanding of a universal and ubiquitous grammatical category. Breaking with much past work, Harbour establishes three core theses, one empirical, one theoretical, and one metatheoretical. Together, these redefine the data subsumed under the rubric of “person,” simplify the feature inventory that a theory of person must posit, and restructure the metatheory in which feature theory as a whole resides.At its heart, Impossible Persons poses a simple question of the possible versus the actual: in how many ways could languages configure their person systems, in how many do they configure them, and what explains the size and shape of the shortfall? Harbour’s empirical thesis—that the primary object of study for persons are partitions, not syncretisms—transforms a sea of data into a categorical problem of the attested and the absent. Positing, innovatively, that features denote actions, not predicates, he shows that two features alone generate all and only the attested systems. This apparently poor inventory yields rich explanatory dividends, covering the morphological composition of person, its interaction with number, its connection to space, and properties of its semantics and linearization. Moreover, the core properties of this approach are shared with Harbour’s earlier work on number features. Jointly, these results establish an important metatheoretical corollary concerning the balance between richness of feature semantics and restrictiveness of feature inventories. This corollary holds deep implications for how linguists should approach feature theory in future.
Book 73
An argument that the word order of a given language is largely predictable from independently observable facts about its phonology and morphology.Languages differ in the types of overt movement they display. For example, some languages (including English) require subjects to move to a preverbal position, while others (including Italian) allow subjects to remain postverbal. In its current form, Minimalism offers no real answer to the question of why these different types of movements are distributed among languages as they are. In Contiguity Theory, Norvin Richards argues that there are universal conditions on morphology and phonology, particularly in how the prosodic structures of language can be built, and that these universal structures interact with language-specific properties of phonology and morphology. He argues that the grammar begins the construction of phonological structure earlier in the derivation than previously thought, and that the distribution of overt movement operations is largely determined by the grammar’s efforts to construct this structure. Rather than appealing to diacritic features, the explanations will generally be rooted in observable phenomena. Richards posits a different kind of relation between syntax and morphology than is usually found in Minimalism. According to his Contiguity Theory, if we know, for example, what inflectional morphology is attached to the verb in a given language, and what the rules are for where stress is placed in the verb, then we will know where the verb goes in the sentence. Ultimately, the goal is to construct a theory in which a complete description of the phonology and morphology of a given language is also a description of its syntax.
Book 72
A systematic exposition of Reinhart’s Theta System, with extensive annotations and essays that capture subsequent developments.One of Tanya Reinhart’s major contributions to linguistic theory is the development of the Theta System (TS), a theory of the interface between the system of concepts and the linguistic computational system. Reinhart introduced her theory in a seminal paper, “The Theta System: Syntactic Realization of Verbal Concepts” (2000) and subsequently published other papers with further theoretical development. Although Reinhart continued to work on the Theta System, she had not completed a planned Linguistic Inquiry volume on the topic before her untimely death in 2007. This book, then, is the first to offer a systematic exposition of Reinhart’s Theta System. The core of the book is Reinhart’s 2000 paper, accompanied by substantial endnotes with clarifications, summaries, and links to subsequent modifications of the theory, some in Reinhart’s unpublished work. An appendix by Marijana Marelj discusses the domain of Case, based on an LSA course she taught with Reinhart in 2005. Two additional essays by Reinhart’s linguistic colleagues discuss the division of labor between the lexicon and syntax and the apparent conflict between the Theta System and Distributed Morphology.
Book 71
A theory of control, equally grounded in syntax and semantics, that argues that obligatory control is achieved either through predication or through logophoric anchoring.This book revives and reinterprets a persistent intuition running through much of the classical work: that the unitary appearance of Obligatory Control into complements conceals an underlying duality of structure and mechanism. Idan Landau argues that control complements divide into two types: In attitude contexts, control is established by logophoric anchoring, while non-attitude contexts it boils down to predication. The distinction is also syntactically represented: Logophoric complements are constructed as a second tier above predicative complements.The theory derives the obligatory de se reading of PRO as a special kind of de re attitude without ascribing any inherent feature to PRO. At the same time, it provides a principled explanation, based on feature transmission, for the agreement properties of PRO, which are stipulated on competing semantic accounts. Finally, it derives a striking universal asymmetry: the fact that agreement on the embedded verb blocks control in attitude contexts but not in non-attitude contexts. This book is unique in being firmly grounded in both the formal semantic and the syntactic studies of control, offering an integrated view that will appeal to scholars in both areas. By bringing to bear current sophisticated grammatical analyses, it offers new insights into the classical problems of control theory.
Book 69
An investigation of the syntactic structure of voice and v, using Acehnese (Malayo-Polynesian) as the empirical starting point.In Voice and v, Julie Anne Legate investigates the syntactic structure of voice, using Acehnese as the empirical starting point. A central claim is that voice is encoded in a functional projection, VoiceP, which is distinct from, and higher than, vP. Legate further claims that VoiceP may be associated with phi-features that semantically restrict the external argument position but do not saturate it. Through minor variations in the properties of VoiceP, Legate explains a wide range of non-canonical voice constructions, including: agent-agreeing passives, grammatical object passives, impersonals, object voice constructions, and applicative voice in causatives. Her analysis draws on data from a typologically diverse set of languages, not only Malayo-Polynesian, but also Celtic, Scandinavian, and Slavic. Voice and v provides a detailed investigation into the syntactic structure of an understudied Malayo-Polynesian language, and thereby reveals important insights for the theoretical analysis of voice and the verb phrase. Moreover, the work applies and broadens these insights to a range of related passive-like constructions crosslinguistically. Voice and v thus joins a handful of model volumes that enlist typological depth and breadth to further our development of modern linguistic theory.
Book 63
A novel view of the syntax-semantics interface that analyzes the behavior of indefinite objects.In Indefinite Objects, Luis López presents a novel approach to the syntax-semantics interface using indefinite noun phrases as a database. Traditional approaches map structural configurations to semantic interpretations directly; López links configuration to a mode of semantic composition, with the latter yielding the interpretation.The polyvalent behavior of indefinites has long been explored by linguists who have been interested in their syntax, semantics, and case morphology, and López’s contribution can be seen as a synthesis of findings from several traditions. He argues, first, that scrambled indefinite objects are composed by means of Function Application preceded by Choice Function while objects in situ are composed by means of Restrict. This difference yields the different interpretive possibilities of indefinite objects. López’s more nuanced approach to the syntax-semantics interface turns out to be rich in empirical consequences.Second, he proposes that short scrambling also yields Differential Marking, provided that context conditions are fulfilled, while in situ objects remain unmarked. Thus, López contributes to the extensive literature on Differential Object Marking by showing that syntactic configuration is a crucial factor.López substantiates this approach with data from Spanish, Hindi-Urdu, Persian (Farsi), Kiswahili, Romanian, and German.

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