Generative grammar is an approach to the study of language which is explicit, mentalistic, and based on the claim that the ability to acquire language is innately specified. This chapter outlines some of the recent history leading up to contemporary generative grammar. It provides some context for the emergence of Principles and Parameters and the basic gist of the Principles and Parameters approach. Chomsky is a fundamental contribution to the study of human language in its effort to develop a new (...) theory of what is universal across languages and what is variable. In the beginning of the 1990s, Chomsky developed a new model, called the Minimalist Program. The main idea behind the model of grammar labeled Government and Binding was developed by Chomsky in several publications. The chapter also outlines some of the current research trends within the Minimalist Program. (shrink)
In a recent book (_Lying and insincerity_, Oxford University Press, 2018), Andreas Stokke argues that one lies iff one says something one believes to be false, thereby proposing that it becomes common ground. This paper shows that Stokke’s proposal is unable to draw the right distinctions about insincere performative utterances. The objection also has repercussions on theories of assertion, because it poses a novel challenge to any attempt to define assertion as a proposal to update the common ground.
The philosophy of linguistics is a rich philosophical domain which encompasses various disciplines. One of the aims of this thesis is to unite theoretical linguistics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of science and the ontology of language. Each part of the research presented here targets separate but related goals with the unified aim of bringing greater clarity to the foundations of linguistics from a philosophical perspective. Part I is devoted to the methodology of linguistics in terms of scientific modelling. (...) I argue against both the Conceptualist and Platonist interpretations of linguistic theory by means of three grades of mathematical involvement for linguistic grammars. Part II explores the specific models of syntactic and semantics by an analogy with the harder sciences. In Part III, I develop a novel account of linguistic ontology and in the process comment on the type-token distinction, the role and connection with mathematics and the nature of linguistic objects. In this research, I offer a structural realist interpretation of linguistic methodology with a nuanced structuralist picture for its ontology. This proposal is informed by historical and current work in theoretical linguistics as well as philosophical views on ontology, scientific modelling and mathematics. (shrink)
In this paper we will analyze the conceptual and computational motivations of the property of displacement in natural languages from a revisited perspective. We will account for displacement phenomena proposing our own version of displacement-as-external token Merge, as opposed to the traditional displacement-as-literal movement or, more recently, displacement-as-copy and Merge (Chomsky 1995; Kitahara 1997; Nunes 2004). As far as empirical data is concerned, we will provide a brief analysis of parasitic gaps and their derivation, comparing our proposal with previous accounts (...) making particular stress on the idea that operations are not feature-driven in a highly constrained syntactic component, but interface-driven, syntax being free and unbounded. (shrink)
We propose that the restrictive/non restrictive distinction found in relative clauses corresponds to the Inalienable vs Alienable distinction of the Nominal Possessive constructions. We propose to extend this distinction to adjectives suggesting that is not construction specific.
Epithets and pronominals 'en' and 'y' in French have a variety of Binding properties that are unexpected on conventional approach to Binding Theory. We argue that the linguistic variety observed cross-linguistically (and perhaps, more surprinsingly, within a single language) - derives from the morphological properties of the anaphoric element - which we claim lack number features. Epithets and pronominal like 'en' and 'y' are predicates modifying null but semantically active nouns, and must theefore refer to the Speaker. These properties, we (...) claim, explain why these elements must be employed in what we define as an Epistemic Context, and are subject to Condition C of Binding Theory. (shrink)
In this paper, we show that many of the dramatic changes that took place in the course of the history of the English complementation system are the result of a simple morphological Change in the determiner system. We propose that Old English (OE) evolved from a system in which 'complements' clauses, relative clauses and DP were interpreted as adverbials to a system in which they are interpreted as arguments of the verb. As the determiner acquired certain certain type of morphological (...) feature , a complementation system developed. We show that this claim is is reinforced by the fact that apparently unrelated changes all follow from the nature of the determiner system. (shrink)
Our paper presents a novel theory of weak crossover effects, based entirely on quantifier scope preferences and their consequences for variable binding. The structural notion of 'crossover' play no role. We develop a theory of scope preferences which ascribes a central role to the AGR-P System.
The article shows that the arugument of a verb can be projected in diffrent ways according to the meaning (agentive or not) of the predicate. An analysis is developed which suggests a modification of the projection principle according to which this principle is in part an interpretative principle, not a principle of the core grammmar.
It is claimed that the English genitive marker 's' suprisingly mirrors- at least in some dialects of English - the three main different usage of the mono-morphemic reflexives such as 'se' in French. A solution to this paradox already noted by Jespersen (1918) is proposed drawing on Watkins paradox according to which the study of what looks like 'social' parameters might be relevant for linguistics.
Une théorie de la littérature s'appuyant sur les contraintes de langue mises en évidence par la grammaire chomskyenne est-elle envisageable ? Une telle théorie peut-elle reprendre en des termes nouveaux le programme de recherche envisagé - en termes sémiotiques - par Jakobson, qui tentait de constituer une théorie générale du langage, de la poésie et de l'art ? -/- Une théorie linguistique peut-elle participer à la découverte de nouvelles formes littéraires dont elle s'enrichirait en retour ? C'est ce que suggère (...) ce volume d'hommages à Mitsou Ronat. L'avant-propos montre que son travail pourrait bien constituer une conception différente du programme actuel des sciences cognitives, dont il recoupe en partie l'objet de recherche, tout en y englobant certaines expériences sur l'écriture. (shrink)
This article claims that one has to distinguish between X° reflexives which do not bear phi-features, such as number, and XP complex reflexive - which do bear such features. The presence/vs absence of features, it is argued, explains the behavior of so called long distance reflexives - first observed, within the generative tradition, in scandinavian languages - but present all over. The observation according to which XP reflexives are clause bound, while X° reflexives in argument position are not, is some (...) times refered to as "Pica's generalization" (see Burzio (1987) which stressed correctly that is was the first time that such a correlatiion betwen reflexives structure, binding domains, and the role of a cycle was observed. The behavioir of reflexives it is argued derives from the properties of abstratc movement at the level of Logical Form. (shrink)
Nous distinguons deux types d'anaphores en montrant que la comprehension des relations à longue distance met en jeu plusieurs propriétés de la grammaire comme l'association, ou non, avec un rôle thématique, ou à une position argumentale, et montrons comment les mécanismes mis en jeu sont universels - et ont des conséquences sur l'architecture de la grammaire (sur la définition de la notion de c-commande par exemple). L'article montre en particulier qu'il ne peut y avoir de réciproque ou de clitique lié (...) a longue distance. (shrink)
We argue that there exist two kinds of passive structures, a) one generated in the base b) the other transformationally derived by the structure preserving-rule of move-NP. Assuming a Case theory along the lmines of Chomsky (1978), we want to argue a) that some oblique Cases are assigned in the base b) that NP movement can move an oblique Case assigned in the base c) that movement should not be defined in terms of Case but in terms of Government.