The emergence of syntactic structure

Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (1):47 - 95 (2007)
Abstract
The present paper is the result of a long struggle to understand how the notion of compositionality can be used to motivate the structure of a sentence. While everyone seems to have intuitions about which proposals are compositional and which ones are not, these intuitions generally have no formal basis. What is needed to make such arguments work is a proper understanding of what meanings are and how they can be manipulated. In particular, we need a definition of meaning that bans all mentioning of syntactic structure; it is not the task of semantics to state in which way things are put together in syntax. The present paper presents such a theory of meaning. This, in tandem with some minimal assumptions on the syntactic process (that there can be no deletion) yield surprisingly deep insights into natural language. First, it rehabilitates a lot of linguistic work as necessary on semantic grounds and defends it against potential claims of redundancy. For example, θ-roles and linking are an integral part of semantics, and not syntax. To assume the latter is to put the cart before the horse. Second, as a particular example we shall show that Dutch is not strongly context free even if weakly context free. To our knowledge, this is the first formal proof of this fact.
Keywords Compositionality  Syntax  Semantics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,316
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Klaus Abels (2013). Comments on Hornstein. Mind and Language 28 (4):421-429.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

18 ( #88,049 of 1,096,481 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

5 ( #45,639 of 1,096,481 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.