Minimalist Syntax: The Essential Readings / Edition 1

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This book is a collection of key readings on Minimalist Syntax, the most recent, and arguably most important, theoretical development within the Principles and Parameters approach to syntactic theory.

  • Brings together in one volume the key readings on Minimalist Syntax
  • Includes an introduction and overview of the Minimalist Program written by two prominent researchers
  • Excerpts crucial pieces from the beginning of Minimalism to the most recent work and provides invaluable coverage of the most important topics.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The physicist Paul Dirac noted that the beauty of an equation is far more important than its fit to the experimental evidence. The Minimalist Program in linguistics, championed by Chomsky in the mid-1990s, is an attempt to seek beauty in the theory of linguistics. Minimalist Syntax synthesizes the current state of play, showing both the elegance of the theory, and its far reaching implications for not only the study of language, but the mind more generally. You may not agree with the perspective outlined, and may not find the evidence compelling, but if you don’t take the proposal seriously, you will miss out on what could be one of the most radical and intellectually stimulating theories of the mind in the 21st century."
—Marc Hauser, Harvard College, author of Wild Minds (2000) and Moral Minds (2006).

"A fine collection of excerpts from many of the most important and influential texts of the Minimalist Program. Organized by topic, the editors have helpfully juxtaposed selections from the literature to give the reader a feel for how debates progressed and how ideas were shaped. This book provides the essential core reading list for any course on minimalist syntactic theory. It is also a must-have all-in-one-place reference source for syntacticians."
—Tim Stowell, UCLA

"An authoritative and comprehensive volume detailing how the Minimalist Program developed out of earlier work, and making clever use of extracts from key works by the world’s leading scholars. A unique teaching and research resource."
—Andrew Radford, University of Essex

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631233046
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 11/15/2005
  • Series: Linguistics: The Essential Readings Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Željko Bošković is Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of The Syntax of Nonfinite Complementation: An Economy Approach (1997) and On the Nature of the Syntax–Phonology Interface: Cliticization and Related Phenomena (2001).

Howard Lasnik is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland. His publications include Essays on Anaphora (1989), Minimalist Analysis (Blackwell, 1999), Minimalist Investigations in Linguistic Theory (2003), and A Course in Minimalist Syntax (with Juan Uriagereka, Blackwell, 2005).

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Table of Contents



1. The Basic Design of Language: Levels of Representation and Interaction with Interfaces.

1.1. General background.

Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework (Noam Chomsky).

Derivation by Phase (Noam Chomsky).

1.2.Levels of Representation.

D-Structure, Theta-Criterion and Movement into Theta-positions (Željko Bošković).

A Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory (Noam Chomsky).

1.3. Recent Developments: Multiple Spell-Out.

A Derivational Approach to Syntactic Relations (Samuel D Epstein, Erich M. Groat, Ruriko Kawashima, and Hisatsugu Kitahara).

Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework (Noam Chomsky).

Beyond Explanatory Adequacy (Noam Chomsky).

2. Eliminating Government.

2.1 Case.

On the Subject of Infinitives (Howard Lasnik, with Mamoru Saito).

A Minimalist Program for linguistic Theory (Noam Chomsky).

2.1.1 Recent Developments.

Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework (Noam Chomsky).

2.2. PRO.

2.2.1 Null Case.

The Syntax of Nonfinite Complementation: An Economy Approach (Željko Bošković).

2.2.2 Eliminating PRO: Movement into θ-positions.

Movement and Control (Norbert Hornstein).

2.3 Locality.

The Theory of Principles and Parameters (Noam Chomsky).

Economy of Derivation and the Generalized Proper Binding Condition (Chris Collins).

Elementary Operations and Optimal Derivations (Hisatsugu Kitahara).

A Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory (Noam Chomsky).

Categories and Transformation (Noam Chomsky).

Local Economy (Chris Collins).

Move or Attract? (Masao Ochi).

A-movement and the EPP (Željko Bošković).

2.3.1 Recent Developments: Phases.

Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework (Noam Chomsky).

Derivation by Phase (Noam Chomsky).

Successive Cyclicity, Anti-locality, and Adposition Stranding (Klaus Abels).

3. Structure Building and Lexical Insertion.

3.1 Bare Phrase Structure.

Categories and Transformation (Noam Chomsky).

Beyond Explanatory Adequacy (Noam Chomsky).

3.2 Numeration and the Merge-over-Move Preference.

Minimalist Inquiries: the Framework (Noam Chomsky).

3.3 Cycle.

Movement in Language: Interactions and Architectures (Norvin Richards).

Minimalist Inquiries: the Framework (Noam Chomsky).

3.4 Covert Lexical Insertion.

LF Movement and the Minimalist Program (Željko Bošković).

3.5 Eliminating Agr.

Categories and Transformation (Noam Chomsky).

4. Verbal Morphology.

4.1 Head movement and/or Affix Hopping?.

Verbal Morphology (Howard Lasnik).

4.2 Head Movement as a PF Phenomenon.

Derivation by Phase (Noam Chomsky).

Head-ing Toward PF (Cedric Boeckx and Sandra Stjepanovic).

5. LCA/C-Command Related Issues.

The Asymmetry of Syntax (Richard S. Kayne).

Categories and Transformation (Noam Chomsky).

Un-principled Syntax: The Derivation of Syntactic Relations (Samuel D. Epstein).

Multiple SpellOout (Juan Uriagereka).

Cyclicity and Extraction Domains (Jairo Nunes and Juan Uriagereka).

6. Copy Theory of Movement.

Linearization of Chains and Sideward Movement (Jairo Nunes).

Morphosyntax: The Syntax of Verbal Inflection (Jonathan Bobaljik).

7. Existential Constructions.

A Minimalist Program for Linguistic Theory (Noam Chomsky).

Categories and Transformation (Noam Chomsky).

Last Resort (Howard Lasnik).

7.1 Recent Developments.

Derivation by Phase (Noam Chomsky).

Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework (Noam Chomsky).

Beyond Explanatory Adequacy (Noam Chomsky).

8. Syntax/Semantics Interface.

Economy and Scope (Danny Fox).

Reconstruction, Binding Theory, and the Interpretation of Chains (Danny Fox).

Minimalism and Quantifier Raising (Norbert Hornstein).


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