Arguments as Relations

Arguments as Relations

by John Bowers
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Arguments as Relations, John Bowers proposes a radically new approach to argument structure that has the potential to unify data from a wide range of different language types in terms of a simple and universal syntactic structure. In many ways, Bowers's theory is the natural extension of three leading ideas in the literature: the minimalist approach

…  See more details below

Overview

In Arguments as Relations, John Bowers proposes a radically new approach to argument structure that has the potential to unify data from a wide range of different language types in terms of a simple and universal syntactic structure. In many ways, Bowers's theory is the natural extension of three leading ideas in the literature: the minimalist approach to Case theory
(particularly Chomsky's idea that Case is assigned under the Agree function relation); the idea of introducing arguments in specifiers of functional categories rather than in projections of lexical categories; and the neo-Davidsonian approach to argument structure represented in the work of Parsons and others. Bowers pulls together these strands in the literature and shapes them into a unified theory.

These ideas, together with certain basic assumptions--notably the idea that the initial order of merge of the three basic argument categories of Agent, Theme, and Affectee is just the opposite of what has been almost universally assumed in the literature--lead Bowers to a fundamental rethinking of argument structure. He proposes that every argument is merged as the specifier of a particular type of light verb category and that these functional argument categories merge in bottom-to-top fashion in accordance with a fixed
Universal Order of Merge (UOM). In the hierarchical structures that result from these operations, Affectee arguments will be highest, Theme arguments next highest,
and Agent arguments lowest--exactly the opposite of the usual assumption.

Linguistic Inquiry Monographs
58

The MIT Press

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262514330
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
07/30/2010
Series:
Linguistic Inquiry Monographs, #58
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Kyle Johnson

Arguments as Relations aims at nothing less than a complete typology of argument structure. It defends the view that there is a single,
universal method for introducing arguments into a clause, and then systematically goes through all the ways in which that method gives the differing results evident cross-linguistically. All the familiar languages and grammatical function operations are brought under one simple theory.

David Pesetsky

Bowers's creative yet formally simple proposals turn received wisdom about the syntactic side of argument structure on its head -- literally.
Arguments as Relations shows how a hierarchy for arguments that is the precise opposite of the standard view solves puzzle after puzzle in virtually every domain where semantics and grammatical relations interact.

From the Publisher
"Bowers's creative yet formally simple proposals turn received wisdom about the syntactic side of argument structure on its head — literally. *Arguments as Relations* shows how a hierarchy for arguments that is the precise opposite of the standard view solves puzzle after puzzle in virtually every domain where semantics and grammatical relations interact." David Pesetsky,MIT

"Arguments as Relations aims at nothing less than a complete typology of argument structure. It defends the view that there is a single, universal method for introducing arguments into a clause, and then systematically goes through all the ways in which that method gives the differing results evident cross-linguistically. All the familiar languages and grammatical function operations are brought under one simple theory." Kyle Johnson, University of MassachusettsAmherst

Read More

Meet the Author

John Bowers is Professor of Linguistics and Chair of the Linguistics Department at
Cornell University.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >