Skip navigation

Maria Luisa Zubizarreta

Maria Luisa Zubizarreta is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California. She is the author of Levels of Representation in the Lexicon and in the Syntax.

Titles by This Author

This crosslinguistic study of the structure of motion predicates argues for the universal syntactic nature of the composition of manner and motion within the verbal constituent. In serial verb languages, manner and motion are overtly represented as two distinct morphosyntactic units, sequentially ordered. Zubizarreta and Oh argue that the same analysis into two units holds for nonserial verb languages, albeit at a more abstract level. They argue further that this abstract level is part of the syntactic component of the grammar.The authors support their argument with a wealth of empirical data and a discussion of significant theoretical issues. Unlike many books and articles that discuss the relation between constructional meaning and the lexicon, On the Syntactic Composition of Manner and Motion examines one phenomenon in detail: the articulation of manner and motion, in three distinct language families--Germanic, Korean, and Romance. The authors' defense of the syntactic approach to constructional meaning will be of interest to linguists and psycholinguists both inside and outside the generative tradition, and to scholars of Romance, Germanic, and Korean languages.

This monograph exemplifies a new trend in grammatical theory in which researchers combine findings from more than one area of linguistics. Specifically, the author looks at the relationship between phrasal prominence and focus in Romance and Germanic languages to provide new insights into how these properties are grammatically articulated. Building upon previous results in the field, she argues that phrasal prominence (nuclear stress) reflects syntactic ordering. There are two varieties of syntactic ordering. The first is the standard asymmetric c-command ordering. The second is the ordering derived from the primitive relation of selection holding between a head and its associated argument.Part of the difference between Germanic and Romance languages stems from a difference in the way the two syntactic orderings interact in the mapping onto phrasal prominence. The author shows that the symmetry between syntactic ordering and phrasal prominence so defined may be broken because of the independent requirement that a focused constituent must contain the most prominent element in the sentence. Two kinds of processes come into play to repair the broken symmetry. One is a process of deaccenting. The other is a process of movement, called "p-movement." The author shows that a proper understanding of the properties of p-movement can be attained within the framework of the Minimalist Program.

Titles by This Editor

Essays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud

Jean-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. ContributorsJoseph 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 WilliamsRobert Freidin is Professor of the Council of the Humanities in the Philosophy Department at Princeton University. Carlos P. Otero is Professor Emeritus of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Los Angeles. Maria Luisa Zubizarreta is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Southern California.