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Main page » Non-Fiction » A Theory of Phrase Markers and the Extended Base

A Theory of Phrase Markers and the Extended Base


"The topic of the book is the theory of phrase structure and how it hangs together. Classical X' theory is the basic theme. Chametzky argues for the separation of dominance from precedence and suggests various ways of incorporating adjuncts and coordinates into such a system. The presentation of the classical views and the discussion of the critical material on early X' theory is very valuable and very well done. In fact, the book is a pleasure to read. The section on C-command is a gem. I agree with the author that it is a terrific way of thinking about C-command. The section on coordination is demanding but lucid as is the section on adjuncts. I like the idea that adjuncts might not really be part of the tree in the same sense that arguments are. The lack of a label is an intriguing idea. What can I say, I loved it!" -- Norbert Hornstein, University of Maryland at College Park

This piece of theory construction within the Government & Binding (GB) approach to syntax focuses on the base component and on the nature of phrase markers. Well-known structural facts about C-command, coordinate structures, adjuncts, and Islands are simply assumed, and a theoretical explanation for these structural facts is developed. The emphasis is on isolating theoretical primitives and deducing implications of these primitives through the articulation of a suitable theoretical architecture. Almost exclusively, considerations of coherence, simplicity, and organization are used to explain structural facts. Structure is the direct target of theory construction, rather than being derived from other considerations.

"By providing a perspective on phrase markers in which both C-command and the nature of Islands are explained, the author lays the foundation for what could be a major shift in theories of how syntax is related to other cognitive systems." -- Margaret Speas, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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Tags: theoretical, structural, facts, construction, these