Syntactic Gradience: The Nature of Grammatical Indeterminacy

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This is the first exhaustive investigation of gradience in syntax, conceived of as grammatical indeterminacy. It looks at gradience in English word classes, phrases, clauses and constructions, and examines how it may be defined and differentiated. Professor Aarts addresses the tension between linguistic concepts and the continuous phenomena they describe by testing and categorizing grammatical vagueness and indeterminacy. He considers to what extent gradience is a grammatical phenomenon or a by-product of ...
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0199219265 New. No marks or damage. Hardcover, 288 pages, Oxford University Press, USA (August 2, 2007). This is the first exhaustive investigation of gradience in syntax, ... conceived of as grammatical indeterminacy. It looks at gradience in English word classes, phrases, clauses and constructions, and examines how it may be defined and differentiated. Professor Aarts addresses the tension between linguistic concepts and the continuous phenomena they describe by testing and categorizing grammatical vagueness and indeterminacy. He considers to what extent gradience is a grammatical phenomenon or a by-product of imperfect linguistic description, and makes a series of linked proposals for its theoretical formalization. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Great customer service and a no problem, EZ return policy. Real people, real service, since 1981. Read more Show Less

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Overview


This is the first exhaustive investigation of gradience in syntax, conceived of as grammatical indeterminacy. It looks at gradience in English word classes, phrases, clauses and constructions, and examines how it may be defined and differentiated. Professor Aarts addresses the tension between linguistic concepts and the continuous phenomena they describe by testing and categorizing grammatical vagueness and indeterminacy. He considers to what extent gradience is a grammatical phenomenon or a by-product of imperfect linguistic description, and makes a series of linked proposals for its theoretical formalization.

Bas Aarts draws on, and reviews, work in psychology, philosophy and language from Aristotle to Chomsky., and writes clearly on a fascinating and important aspect of language and cognition. His book will appeal to scholars and graduate students of language and syntactic theory in departments of (English) linguistics, philosophy and cognitive science.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199219261
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/13/2007
  • Series: Oxford Linguistics Ser.
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Bas Aarts is Professor of English Linguistics and Director of the Survey of English Usage at University College London. His previous books include Small Clauses in English: the Nonverbal Types (Mouton de Gruyter, 1992); The Verb in Contemporary English, co-edited with Charles F. Meyer (Cambridge University Press, 1995); English Syntax and Argumentation (Palgrave Macmillan, 1997; 2001): Investigating Natural Language: Working with the British Component of the International Corpus of English, co-authored with Gerald Nelson and Sean Wallis (John Benjamins, 2002); Fuzzy Grammar: A Reader co-edited with David Denison, Evelien Keizer, and Gergana Popova (Oxford University Press, 2004); and The Handbook of English Linguistics co-edited with April McMahon (Blackwell, 2006). With David Denison and Richard Hogg he is a founding editor of the journal English Language and Linguistics.

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Table of Contents


Abbreviations     xi
Acknowledgements     xiii
Introduction     1
Theoretical Background     7
Categorization in Linguistics     9
Introduction     9
The classical philosophical tradition of categorization     11
The linguistic tradition: early grammarians     14
Twentieth-century approaches to linguistic categorization     17
Bloomfield and American structuralism     17
Transformational grammar     18
Generative Semantics     23
Descriptive grammar     25
Cognitive approaches     26
Functional-typological and discourse typological linguistics     30
Other frameworks: Phrase Structure Grammar and Construction Grammar     32
Grammatical Gradience     34
Introduction     34
Notions of gradience in ancient and modern philosophy     35
The linguistic tradition: early grammarians     38
Twentieth-century approaches to gradience     39
The post-Bloomfieldians and Bolinger     39
Firth and Halliday     42
Transformational Grammar     43
Generative Semantics     52
Logical approaches to linguistic vagueness:the Prague school, Zadeh, and Ross     58
Descriptive grammar     62
Cognitive approaches     68
Functional-typological and discourse-typological linguistics     71
Optimality Theory     72
Probability Theory     73
Other frameworks: Phrase Structure Grammar, Word Grammar, Lexical-Functional Grammar, and Construction Grammar     75
Two types of gradience     79
Gradience and Related Notions     80
Introduction     80
Serial relationship     80
Syntactic mixing: mergers     83
Multiple analysis and reanalysis     86
Gradience and Prototype Theory     87
Gradience and Markedness Theory     90
Gradience in English: Case Studies     95
Subsective Gradience     97
SG within word classes     97
Verbs     98
Nouns     101
Adjectives     105
Prepositions     107
SG within phrases     111
SG within clauses     117
SG in grammar     121
Intersective Gradience     124
IG between word classes     124
Gradience between pre-head elements within noun phrases      124
Determinatives and pronouns     125
Determinatives and adjectives     125
Determinatives and adverbs     127
Adjectives and nouns     129
Adjectives and adverbs     136
Gradience between verbs and other word classes     138
Verbs and adjectives     138
Verbs and nouns     143
Verbs and prepositions/conjunctions     145
Verbs and adverbs     149
Further cases     150
Adverbs, prepositions, and conjunctions     150
Adverbs and nouns     155
Adjectives and prepositions     156
IG between phrases     158
Adjective phrases and noun phrases     158
Adjective phrases and prepositional phrases     160
Noun phrases and prepositional phrases     161
IG in grammar     162
Constructional Gradience     164
Introduction     164
A brief history of the notion 'construction'     164
Structuralism and Transformational Grammar     164
Descriptive grammar     166
Cognitive Linguistics     167
Constructionist frameworks     168
The notion 'construction'      170
Constructional Gradience     171
Subsective Constructional Gradience (SCG)     171
Pseudoclefts     172
Constructions involving subject-auxiliary inversion (SAI)     173
Verb + NP and Verb + NP + NP constructions     173
Transitive constructions     174
The possessive construction     175
Complex prepositions     176
The passive gradient     178
Intersective Constructional Gradience (ICG)     180
Genitival constructions     180
Taylor's possessive constructions gradient     181
Coordination and subordination     182
Verb complementation: monotransitive, ditransitive, and complex transitive constructions     185
Complements and adjuncts     186
Syntactic blends and fusions     187
Constructional Gradience in grammar     192
Vague meaning     193
'Too much' meaning     194
'Too little' meaning     195
A purely syntactic approach to constructions     196
Formalization     199
Modelling Syntactic Gradience     201
Introduction     201
Vagueness, representations, and gradience     202
Eliminating vagueness by looking more closely: apparent sameness     203
Eliminating vagueness by looking more closely: apparent differences     203
Determinatives: a further case of apparent sameness?     204
A formalization of Subsective Gradience and Intersective Gradience     205
Subsective Gradience     205
Intersective Gradience     207
Some applications     208
SG in the adjective class     209
IG between verbs and nouns: the English gerund     210
IG between verbs and adjectives     214
IG between adjectives and prepositions: near and like     215
Complementizers and prepositions     219
Constructions: V + NP + [to-infinitive] vs. V + [NP + to-infinitive]     222
The present account vs. the Aristotelian and 'Sorites' models     223
The syntactic properties of the categories     225
How can we be sure to identify all the relevant properties, and are all the properties equally important?     225
How can we know that a particular property is an independent one and not merely a variant of an already identified property?     227
Is it indeed the case that the syntactic properties that characterize a particular form class are unique to that class?     227
Is it true that an element belonging to a particular class can converge on at most one other word class in any one syntactic configuration?     228
'True hybridity'     228
The nature of grammatical categories     234
The contiguity of grammatical categories     235
Conclusion     241
References     243
Index     265
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