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A Theory of Syntax: Minimal Operations and Universal Grammar

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Overview

Human language seems to have arisen roughly within the last 50,000-100,000 years. In evolutionary terms, this is the mere blink of an eye. If this is correct, then much of what we consider distinctive to language must in fact involve operations available in pre-linguistic cognitive domains. In this book Norbert Hornstein, one of the most influential linguists working on syntax, discusses a topical set of issues in syntactic theory, including a number of original proposals at the cutting edge of research in this area. He provides a theory of the basic grammatical operations and suggests that there is only one that is distinctive to language. If this theory is correct then this narrows the evolutionary gap between verbal and non-verbal primates, thus facilitating the rapid evolutionary emergence of our linguistic capacity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521449700
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/12/2009
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

NORBERT HORNSTEIN is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has written several books on minimalist syntax including Understanding Minimalism (with J. Nunes and K. Grohmann, Cambridge, 2005) and Move!: A Minimalist Theory of Construal (2000).

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Table of Contents

1 Minimalism and Darwin's problem 1

2 Deriving c-command 17

3 Labels, recursion and movement 53

4 Some thoughts on adjunction 81

5 The emerging picture : basic operations, FL and the Minimalist Program 106

6 Stop AGREEing! : keep moving! 126

7 Conclusions, consequences and more questions 155

References 181

Index 190

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