Argument Structure is a contribution to linguistics at the interface between lexical syntax and lexical semantics. It formulates an original and highly predictive theory of argument structure that accounts for a large number of syntactic phenomena, and it will interest linguists who focus on the nature and form of linguistic representations as well as psychologists who study the acquisition and use of language. The main analytical focus is on passives, nominals, psychological predicates, and the theory of external arguments.
Grimshaw suggests that, contrary to the prevailing view, argument structure is in fact structured: it encodes prominence relations among arguments that reflect both their thematic and their aspectual properties. The prominence relations support a new theory of external arguments with far-reaching consequences for the syntactic behavior of predicates and the nature of cross-categorical variation in argument structure.
Jane Grimshaw is Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Brandeis University.
Recent work in theoretical syntax has revealed the strong explanatory power of the notions of economy, competition, and optimization. Building grammars entirely upon these elements, Optimality Theory syntax provides a theory of universal grammar with a formally precise and strongly restricted theory of universal typology: cross-linguistic variation arises exclusively from the conflict among universal principles.
Beginning with a general introduction to Optimality Theory syntax, this volume provides a comprehensive overview of the state of the art, as represented by the work of the leading developers of the theory. The broad range of topics treated includes morphosyntax (case, inflection, voice, and cliticization), the syntax of reference (control, anaphora, an pronominalization), the gammar of clauses (complementizers and their absence), and grammatical and discourse effects in word order. Among the theoretical themes running throughout are the interplay between faithfulness and markedness, and various questions of typology and of inventory.
Peter Ackema, Judith Aissen, Eric Bakovic, Joan Bresnan, Hye-Won Choi, João Costa, Jane Grimshaw, Edward Keer, Géraldine Legendre, Gereon Müller, Ad Neeleman, Vieri Samek-Lodovici, Peter Sells, Margaret Speas, Sten Vikner, Colin Wilson, Ellen Woolford.