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Linguistic Inquiry Monographs

These monographs present new and original research beyond the scope of the article. We hope they will benefit our field by bringing to it perspectives that will stimulate further research and insight. Originally published in limited edition, the Linguistic Inquiry Monographs are now more widely available. This change is due to the great interest engendered by the series and by the needs of a growing readership.

The Syntax of Predication, Predicate Inversion, and Copulas

In Relators and Linkers, Marcel den Dikken presents a syntax of predication and the inversion of the predicate around its subject, emphasizing meaningless elements (elements with no semantic load) that play an essential role in the establishment and syntactic manipulation of predication relationships. One such element, the RELATOR, mediates the relationship between a predicate and its subject in the base representation of predication structures. A second, the LINKER, connects the predicate to its subject in Predicate Inversion constructions.

In this groundbreaking monograph, Anna Maria Di Sciullo proposes that asymmetry -- the irreversibility of a pair of elements in an ordered set -- is a hard-wired property of morphological relations. Her argument that asymmetry is central in derivational morphology, would, if true, make morphological objects regular objects of grammar just as syntactic and phonological objects are.

One of the most important discoveries of modern linguistic theory is that abstract structural properties of utterances place subtle restrictions on how we can use a given form or description. For the past thirty years, these restrictions have been explored for possible clues to the exact nature of the structural properties in question. In The Syntax of (In)dependence Ken Safir explores these structural properties and develops a theory of dependent identity interpretations that also leads to new empirical generalizations.

This highly original monograph treats movement operations within the Minimalist Program. Jairo Nunes argues that traces are not grammatical primitives and that their properties follow from deeper features of the system, and, in particular, that the phonetic realization of traces is determined by linearization computations coupled with economy conditions regarding deletion. He proposes a version of the copy theory of movement according to which movement must be construed as a description of the interaction of the independent operations Copy, Merge, Form Chain, and Chain Reduction.

Markedness and Word Structure

The sound pattern of Japanese, with its characteristic pitch accent system and rich segmental alternations, has played an important role in modern phonology, from structuralist phonemics to current constraint-based theories. In Japanese Morphophonemics Junko Ito and Armin Mester provide the first book-length treatment of central issues in Japanese phonology from the perspective of Optimality Theory.

With this study of Maori and Chamorro, Sandra Chung and William Ladusaw make a valuable contribution to the growing literature on the formal semantic analysis of non-Indo-European languages. Their ultimate focus is on how the study of these Austronesian languages can illuminate the alternatives for semantic interpretation and their interaction with syntactic structure.

The Diversity of Wh-Constructions

This book can be read on two levels: as a novel empirical study of wh- interrogatives and relative constructions in a variety of languages and as a theoretical investigation of chain formation in grammar.

This work is the culmination of an eighteen-year collaboration between Ken Hale and Samuel Jay Keyser on the study of the syntax of lexical items. It examines the hypothesis that the behavior of lexical items may be explained in terms of a very small number of very simple principles. In particular, a lexical item is assumed to project a syntactic configuration defined over just two relations, complement and specifier, where these configurations are constrained to preclude iteration and to permit only binary branching.

The central idea of Dynamic Antisymmetry is that movement and phrase structure are not independent properties of grammar; more specifically, that movement is triggered by the geometry of phrase structure. Assuming a minimalist framework, movement is traced back to the necessity for natural language to organize words in linear order at the interface with the perceptual-articulatory module.

This study investigates the types of movement and movement-like relations that link positions in syntactic structure. David Pesetsky argues that there are three such relations. Besides overt phasal movement, there are two distinct types of movement without phonological effect: covert phrasal movement and feature movement. Focusing on wh-questions, he shows how his classification of movement-like relations allows us to understand the story behind wh-questions in which an otherwise inviolable property of movement—"Attract Closest"—appears to be violated.

Focus and Quantification

In What Counts, Elena Herburger considers the effects of focus on interpretation. She investigates how focus affects the pragmatics and truth conditions of a sentence by rearranging its quantificational structure.

In Economy and Semantic Interpretation, Danny Fox investigates the relevance of principles of optimization (economy) to the interface between syntax and semantics. Supporting the view that grammar is restricted by economy considerations, Fox argues for various economy conditions that constrain the application of "covert" operations. Among other things, he argues that syntactic operations that do not affect phonology cannot apply unless they affect the semantic interpretation of a sentence. This position has a number of consequences for the architecture of grammar.

This monograph investigates the nature, properties, and consequences of the grammatical constraints that yield overt marking of objects in a variety of languages. The author, working within the Minimalist Program, concentrates on the syntactic and semantic behaviors of a particular class of objects: objects morphologically marked by the dative preposition in Romance languages, especially in several Spanish dialects, with consideration of similar phenomena in other 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.

An Economy Approach


Economy considerations have always played an important role in the generative theory of grammar. Indeed, the very development of the theory has been characterized by natural considerations of simplicity and economy. In the Minimalist Program, the operations of the computational system that produce linguistic expressions must satisfy general considerations of simplicity referred to as Economy Principles.

In Elementary Operations and Optimal Derivations, Hisatsugu Kitahara advances Noam Chomsky's Minimalist Program (1995) with a number of innovative proposals. The analysis is primarily concerned with the elementary operations of the computational system for human language and with the principles of Universal Grammar that constrain derivations generated by that system. Many conditions previously assumed to be axiomatic are deduced from the interaction of more fundamental principles of Universal Grammar.


Over the past twenty-five years, Ray Jackendoff has investigated many complex issues in syntax, semantics, and the relation of language to other cognitive domains. He steps back in this new book to survey the broader theoretical landscape in linguistics, in an attempt to identify some of the sources of the widely perceived malaise with respect to much current theorizing.

Combinatory Categorial Grammar (CCG) offers a new approach to the theory of natural language grammar. Coordination, relativization, and related prosodic phenomena have been analyzed in CCG in terms of a radically revised notion of surface structure. CCG surface structures do not exhibit traditional notions of syntactic dominance and command, and do not constitute an autonomous level of representation. Instead, they reflect the computations by which a sentence may be realized or analyzed, to synchronously define a predicate-argument structure, or logical form.


Any theory of grammar must contain a lexicon, an interface with the mechanisms of production and perception (PF), and an interface with the interpretational system of semantics (LF). A traditional way to relate these three components in generative theory is through a derivation. Noam Chomsky's Minimalist Program postulates that grammatical derivations are constrained by economy conditions, requiring that derivations be minimal. One of the most important questions of syntax is what the economy conditions are and how they operate.

A Radically Minimalist Theory

Lexico-Logical Form relates in aim to Noam Chomsky's recent works on economy and minimalism: both authors recast the structure of the grammar, revealing its essential properties in the process. In Lexico-Logical Form, Michael Brody meticulously dissects aspects of the Principles and Parameters theory, pares away the extraneous, focuses on core issues, and recreates them in subtle and interesting ways.

At the Syntax-Lexical Semantics Interface

Unaccusativity is an extended investigation into a set of linguistic phenomena that have received much attention over the last fifteen years. Besides providing extensive support for David Perlmutter's hypothesis that unaccusativity is syntactically represented but semantically determined, this monograph contributes significantly to the development of a theory of lexical semantic representation and to the elucidation of the mapping from lexical semantics to syntax.

Under what conditions are expressions of a language the same; when are they different? Indices and Identity focuses on this question in the context of the theory of anaphora and on the role of indices in characterizing syntactic and semantic identity of expressions.

This important monograph summarizes, rethinks, and extends a decade of the author's work on therole assignments—the ways in which the roles implied by verbs of a given type play out in terms of position and other syntactic functions. The study of theta roles and the locality of theta-role assignment leads into many interesting areas of linguistic theory, such as scope, the ECP, X-bar theory, binding theory, and the weak crossover condition; Williams's reconstruction thus offers a systematic integration of a remarkably wide range of syntactic phenomena.

Stems and Inflectional Classes

Most recent research in generative morphology has avoided the treatment of purely morphological phenomena and has focused instead on interface questions, such as the relation between morphology and syntax or between morphology and phonology. In this monograph Mark Aronoff argues that linguists must consider morphology by itself, not merely as an appendage of syntax and phonology, and that linguistic theory must allow for a separate and autonomous morphological component.

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