Grammatical theory: From transformational grammar to constraint-based approaches
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Grammatical theory: From transformational grammar to constraint-based approaches

By Stefan Mueller
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Book Description

"This book introduces formal grammar theories that play a role in current linguistic theorizing (Phrase Structure Grammar, Transformational Grammar/Government & Binding, Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar, Lexical Functional Grammar, Categorial Grammar, Head-​Driven Phrase Structure Grammar, Construction Grammar, Tree Adjoining Grammar).The key assumptions are explained and it is shown how the respective theory treats arguments and adjuncts, the active/passive alternation, local reorderings, verb placement, and fronting of constituents over long distances. The analyses are explained with German as the object language.The second part of the book compares these approaches with respect to their predictions regarding language acquisition and psycholinguistic plausibility. The nativism hypothesis, which assumes that humans posses genetically determined innate language-specific knowledge, is critically examined and alternative models of language acquisition are discussed. The second part then addresses controversial issues of current theory building such as the question of flat or binary branching structures being more appropriate, the question whether constructions should be treated on the phrasal or the lexical level, and the question whether abstract, non-visible entities should play a role in syntactic analyses. It is shown that the analyses suggested in the respective frameworks are often translatable into each other. The book closes with a chapter showing how properties common to all languages or to certain classes of languages can be captured.The book is a translation of the German book Grammatiktheorie, which was published by Stauffenburg in 2010. "

Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • I Background and specific theories
    • 1 Introduction and basic terms
      • 1.1 Why do syntax?
      • 1.2 Why do it formally?
      • 1.3 Constituents
        • 1.3.1 Constituency tests
          • 1.3.1.1 Substitution
          • 1.3.1.2 Pronominalization
          • 1.3.1.3 Question formation
          • 1.3.1.4 Permutation test
          • 1.3.1.5 Fronting
          • 1.3.1.6 Coordination
        • 1.3.2 Some comments on the status of constituent tests
          • 1.3.2.1 Expletives
          • 1.3.2.2 Movement
          • 1.3.2.3 Fronting
          • 1.3.2.4 Coordination
      • 1.4 Parts of speech
      • 1.5 Heads
      • 1.6 Arguments and adjuncts
      • 1.7 Grammatical functions
        • 1.7.1 Subjects
        • 1.7.2 The adverbial
        • 1.7.3 Predicatives
        • 1.7.4 Valence classes
      • 1.8 A topological model of the German clause
        • 1.8.1 The position of the verb
        • 1.8.2 The sentence bracket, prefield, middle field and postfield
        • 1.8.3 Assigning elements to fields
        • 1.8.4 Recursion
    • 2 Phrase structure grammar
      • 2.1 Symbols and rewrite rules
      • 2.2 Expanding PSG with features
      • 2.3 Semantics
      • 2.4 Phrase structure rules for some aspects of German syntax
        • 2.4.1 Noun phrases
        • 2.4.2 Prepositional phrases
      • 2.5 X̄ theory
    • 3 Transformational Grammar – Government & Binding
      • 3.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 3.1.1 Transformations
        • 3.1.2 The hypothesis regarding language acquisition: Principles & Parameters
        • 3.1.3 The T model
          • 3.1.3.1 D-structure and S-structure
          • 3.1.3.2 Phonetic Form
          • 3.1.3.3 Logical Form
          • 3.1.3.4 The lexicon
        • 3.1.4 X̄ theory
          • 3.1.4.1 Syntactic categories
          • 3.1.4.2 Assumptions and rules
        • 3.1.5 CP and IP in English
        • 3.1.6 The structure of the German clause
      • 3.2 Verb position
      • 3.3 Long-distance dependencies
      • 3.4 Passive
        • 3.4.1 Structural and lexical case
        • 3.4.2 Case assignment and the Case Filter
      • 3.5 Local reordering
      • 3.6 Summary and classification
        • 3.6.1 Explaining language acquisition
        • 3.6.2 Formalization
    • 4 Transformational Grammar – Minimalism
      • 4.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 4.1.1 Basic architecture
        • 4.1.2 Valence, feature checking, and agreement
        • 4.1.3 Phrase structure and X̄ theory
        • 4.1.4 Little v
        • 4.1.5 CP, TP, vP, VP
          • 4.1.5.1 Features as triggers for movement: The EPP feature on T
          • 4.1.5.2 Case assignment
        • 4.1.6 Adjuncts
      • 4.2 Verb position
      • 4.3 Long-distance dependencies
      • 4.4 Passive
      • 4.5 Local reordering
      • 4.6 New developments and theoretical variants
        • 4.6.1 Move, Merge, feature-driven movement and functional projections
          • 4.6.1.1 Functional projections and modularization of linguistic knowledge
          • 4.6.1.2 Feature checking in specifier positions
          • 4.6.1.3 Locality of selection and functional projections
          • 4.6.1.4 Feature-driven movement
        • 4.6.2 Labeling
        • 4.6.3 Specifiers, complements, and the remains of X̄ theory
        • 4.6.4 Minimalism, Categorial Grammar, and HPSG
          • 4.6.4.1 Directional Minimalist Grammars and Categorial Grammar
          • 4.6.4.2 Minimalist Grammars and Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
        • 4.6.5 Selection of atomic features vs. selection of complex categories
        • 4.6.6 Summary
      • 4.7 Summary and classification
        • 4.7.1 Explaining language acquisition
        • 4.7.2 Formalization
    • 5 Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar
      • 5.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 5.1.1 Complex categories, the Head Feature Convention, and X̄ rules
        • 5.1.2 Local reordering
        • 5.1.3 Metarules
        • 5.1.4 Semantics
        • 5.1.5 Adjuncts
      • 5.2 Passive as a metarule
      • 5.3 Verb position
      • 5.4 Long-distance dependencies as the result of local dependencies
      • 5.5 Summary and classification
        • 5.5.1 Valence and morphology
        • 5.5.2 Valence and partial verb phrase fronting
        • 5.5.3 Generative capacity
    • 6 Feature descriptions
      • 6.1 Feature descriptions
      • 6.2 Types
      • 6.3 Disjunction
      • 6.4 Structure sharing
      • 6.5 Cyclic structures
      • 6.6 Unification
      • 6.7 Phenomena, models and formal theories
    • 7 Lexical Functional Grammar
      • 7.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 7.1.1 Functional structure
        • 7.1.2 Completeness
        • 7.1.3 Coherence
        • 7.1.4 Restrictions on the c-structure/f-structure relation
        • 7.1.5 Semantics
        • 7.1.6 Adjuncts
      • 7.2 Passive
      • 7.3 Verb position
      • 7.4 Local reordering
      • 7.5 Long-distance dependencies and functional uncertainty
      • 7.6 Summary and classification
    • 8 Categorial Grammar
      • 8.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 8.1.1 Representation of valence information
        • 8.1.2 Semantics
        • 8.1.3 Adjuncts
      • 8.2 Passive
      • 8.3 Verb position
      • 8.4 Local reordering
      • 8.5 Long-distance dependencies
        • 8.5.1 Type Raising
        • 8.5.2 Forward and backward composition
        • 8.5.3 Analysis of long-distance dependencies
      • 8.6 Summary and classification
    • 9 Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
      • 9.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 9.1.1 Representation of valence information
        • 9.1.2 Representation of constituent structure
        • 9.1.3 Linearization rules
        • 9.1.4 Projection of head properties
        • 9.1.5 Inheritance hierarchies and generalizations
        • 9.1.6 Semantics
        • 9.1.7 Adjuncts
      • 9.2 Passive
        • 9.2.1 Valence information and the Case Principle
      • 9.3 Verb position
      • 9.4 Local reordering
      • 9.5 Long-distance dependencies
      • 9.6 New developments and theoretical variants
        • 9.6.1 Specifier, complements and argument structure
        • 9.6.2 Linearization-based HPSG
      • 9.7 Summary and classification
    • 10 Construction Grammar
      • 10.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 10.1.1 The head-complement construction
        • 10.1.2 Representation of valence information
        • 10.1.3 Semantics
        • 10.1.4 Adjuncts
      • 10.2 Passive
      • 10.3 Verb position
      • 10.4 Local reordering
      • 10.5 Long-distance dependencies
      • 10.6 New developments and theoretical variants
        • 10.6.1 Berkeley Construction Grammar
        • 10.6.2 Sign-Based Construction Grammar
          • 10.6.2.1 Locality and mother
            • 10.6.2.1.1 Idioms that cross constituent boundaries
            • 10.6.2.1.2 Complicated licensing of constructions
            • 10.6.2.1.3 Computational complexity
          • 10.6.2.2 Lexical extraction and the local feature
          • 10.6.2.3 Selection of phon and form values
          • 10.6.2.4 The valence list
          • 10.6.2.5 Conclusion
        • 10.6.3 Embodied Construction Grammar
        • 10.6.4 Fluid Construction Grammar
          • 10.6.4.1 General remarks on the representational format
          • 10.6.4.2 Argument Structure Constructions
          • 10.6.4.3 Fusion, matching and merging
          • 10.6.4.4 Long-distance dependencies
          • 10.6.4.5 Comparison to Sign-Based Construction Grammar/HPSG
            • 10.6.4.5.1 Competence/performance distinction
            • 10.6.4.5.2 Mathematical formalization vs. implementation
            • 10.6.4.5.3 Static constraints vs. dynamic mappings and signature + grammar vs. open-endedness
            • 10.6.4.5.4 Theoretical physics vs. Darwinian evolutionary theory
            • 10.6.4.5.5 Permissiveness of the theories
            • 10.6.4.5.6 A note on engineering
      • 10.7 Summary and classification
    • 11 Dependency Grammar
      • 11.1 General remarks on the representational format
        • 11.1.1 Valence information, nucleus and satellites
        • 11.1.2 Adjuncts
        • 11.1.3 Linearization
        • 11.1.4 Semantics
      • 11.2 Passive
      • 11.3 Verb position
      • 11.4 Local reordering
      • 11.5 Long-distance dependencies
      • 11.6 New developments and theoretical variants
        • 11.6.1 Tesnière's part of speech classification
        • 11.6.2 Connection, junction, and transfer
          • 11.6.2.1 Junction
          • 11.6.2.2 Transfer
        • 11.6.3 Scope
      • 11.7 Summary and classification
        • 11.7.1 Linearization
        • 11.7.2 Dependency Grammar vs. phrase structure grammar
          • 11.7.2.1 Translating projective Dependency Grammars into phrase structure grammars
          • 11.7.2.2 Non-projective Dependency Grammars and phrase structure grammars with discontinuous constituents
          • 11.7.2.3 Features that are not identical between heads and projections
          • 11.7.2.4 Non-headed constructions
    • 12 Tree Adjoining Grammar
      • 12.1 General remarks on representational format
        • 12.1.1 Representation of valence information
        • 12.1.2 Substitution
        • 12.1.3 Adjunction
        • 12.1.4 Semantics
      • 12.2 Local reordering
      • 12.3 Verb position
      • 12.4 Passive
      • 12.5 Long-distance dependencies
      • 12.6 New developments and theoretical variants
        • 12.6.1 FTAG
        • 12.6.2 V-TAG
        • 12.6.3 The competence-performance distinction and the generative capacity of tree-local MC-LTAG
      • 12.7 Summary and classification
  • II General discussion
    • 13 The innateness of linguistic knowledge
      • 13.1 Syntactic universals
        • 13.1.1 Head Directionality Parameter
        • 13.1.2 X̄ structures
        • 13.1.3 Grammatical functions such as subject and object
        • 13.1.4 Binding principles
        • 13.1.5 Properties of long-distance dependencies
          • 13.1.5.1 Extraposition
          • 13.1.5.2 Extraction
        • 13.1.6 Grammatical morphemes for tense, mood and aspect
        • 13.1.7 Parts of speech
        • 13.1.8 Recursion and infinitude
          • 13.1.8.1 Formal problems
          • 13.1.8.2 Empirical problems
          • 13.1.8.3 Recursion in other areas of cognition
        • 13.1.9 Summary
      • 13.2 Speed of language acquisition
      • 13.3 Critical period for acquisition
      • 13.4 Lack of acquisition among non-human primates
      • 13.5 Creole and sign languages
      • 13.6 Localization in special parts of the brain
      • 13.7 Differences between language and general cognition
        • 13.7.1 Williams Syndrome
        • 13.7.2 KE family with FoxP2 mutation
      • 13.8 Poverty of the Stimulus
        • 13.8.1 Gold's Theorem
        • 13.8.2 Four case studies
          • 13.8.2.1 Plurals in noun-noun compounding
          • 13.8.2.2 Position of auxiliaries
          • 13.8.2.3 Reference of one
          • 13.8.2.4 Position of auxiliaries in polar questions
          • 13.8.2.5 Summary
        • 13.8.3 Unsupervised Data-Oriented Parsing (U-DOP)
        • 13.8.4 Negative evidence
      • 13.9 Summary
    • 14 Generative-enumerative vs. model-theoretic approaches
      • 14.1 Graded acceptability
      • 14.2 Utterance fragments
      • 14.3 A problem for model-theoretic approaches?
    • 15 The competence/performance distinction
      • 15.1 The derivational theory of complexity
      • 15.2 Incremental processing
    • 16 Language acquisition
      • 16.1 Principles & Parameters
      • 16.2 Principles and the lexicon
      • 16.3 Pattern-based approaches
      • 16.4 Selection-based approaches
      • 16.5 Summary
    • 17 Generative capacity and grammar formalisms
    • 18 Binary branching, locality, and recursion
      • 18.1 Binary branching
      • 18.2 Locality
      • 18.3 Recursion
    • 19 Empty elements
      • 19.1 Views on empty elements
      • 19.2 Eliminating empty elements from grammars
      • 19.3 Empty elements and semantic interpretation
      • 19.4 Evidence for empty elements
      • 19.5 Transformations, lexical rules, and empty elements
    • 20 Extraction, scrambling, and passive: one or several descriptive devices?
    • 21 Phrasal vs. lexical analyses
      • 21.1 Some putative advantages of phrasal models
        • 21.1.1 Usage-based theories
        • 21.1.2 Coercion
        • 21.1.3 Aspect as a clause level phenomenon
        • 21.1.4 Simplicity and polysemy
      • 21.2 Evidence for lexical approaches
        • 21.2.1 Valence and coordination
        • 21.2.2 Valence and derivational morphology
      • 21.3 Radical underspecification: the end of argument structure?
        • 21.3.1 Neo-Davidsonianism
        • 21.3.2 Little v and idiom asymmetries
        • 21.3.3 Deverbal nominals
        • 21.3.4 Idiosyncratic syntactic selections
        • 21.3.5 Expletives
        • 21.3.6 An exoskeletal approach
        • 21.3.7 Is there an alternative to lexical valence structure?
        • 21.3.8 Summary
      • 21.4 Relations between constructions
        • 21.4.1 Inheritance hierarchies for constructions
        • 21.4.2 Mappings between different levels of representations
        • 21.4.3 Is there an alternative to lexical rules?
      • 21.5 Further problems for phrasal approaches
        • 21.5.1 Particle verbs and commitment to phrase structure configurations
      • 21.6 Arguments from language acquisition
        • 21.6.1 Recognizability of constructions
        • 21.6.2 Coordination and discontinuousness
      • 21.7 Arguments from psycho- and neurolinguistics
        • 21.7.1 Lexical rules vs. phrasal constructions
        • 21.7.2 Light verbs
        • 21.7.3 Arguments from neurolinguistics
      • 21.8 Arguments from statistical distribution
        • 21.8.1 Unsupervised Data-Oriented Parsing
        • 21.8.2 Collostructions
      • 21.9 Conclusion
      • 21.10 Why (phrasal) constructions?
        • 21.10.1 Verbless directives
        • 21.10.2 Serial verbs
        • 21.10.3 Relative and interrogative clauses
        • 21.10.4 The N-P-N construction
    • 22 Universal Grammar and comparative linguistics without UG
      • 22.1 Formal tools for capturing generalizations
      • 22.2 How to develop linguistic theories that capture cross-linguistic generalizations
    • 23 Conclusion
    • 24 Solutions to the exercises
      • 24.1 Introduction and basic terms
      • 24.2 Phrase structure grammars
      • 24.3 Transformational Grammar – Government & Binding
      • 24.4 Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar
      • 24.5 Feature descriptions
      • 24.6 Lexical Functional Grammar
      • 24.7 Categorial Grammar
      • 24.8 Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar
      • 24.9 Construction Grammar
      • 24.10 Dependency Grammar
      • 24.11 Tree Adjoining Grammar
  • Bibliography
  • Index
    • Name index
    • Language index
    • Subject index
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