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The Syntax and Semantics of Split Constructions
 
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The Syntax and Semantics of Split Constructions
A Comparative Study
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
 
07 Apr 2004
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£76.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9781403921123
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

This book takes a comparative look at constructions where an operator is structurally detached from its noun restrictor. The main concern is the fact that such constructions are more limited than their non-split counterparts: if a scopal element intervenes the resulting sentence is ungrammatical. But why should the relation between the operator and its restriction be so constrained when a non-split alternative gives a well-formed structure? The current consensus is that such effects can be linked to weak island phenomena and thus receive a common analysis. This view is adopted, but with a novel take on the link: it is argued that all constructions exhibiting weak islands are really split constructions.

With this syntactic basis a semantics is motivated that provides an explanation for the cut in the data: ungrammatical structures are shown to yield Logical Form representations that cannot be evaluated. The approach has a wide empirical coverage and a conceptual simplicity.


Description

This book takes a comparative look at constructions where an operator is structurally detached from its noun restrictor. The main concern is the fact that such constructions are more limited than their non-split counterparts: if a scopal element intervenes the resulting sentence is ungrammatical. But why should the relation between the operator and its restriction be so constrained when a non-split alternative gives a well-formed structure? The current consensus is that such effects can be linked to weak island phenomena and thus receive a common analysis. This view is adopted, but with a novel take on the link: it is argued that all constructions exhibiting weak islands are really split constructions.

With this syntactic basis a semantics is motivated that provides an explanation for the cut in the data: ungrammatical structures are shown to yield Logical Form representations that cannot be evaluated. The approach has a wide empirical coverage and a conceptual simplicity.


Reviews

'Butler and Mathieu argue persuasively that many apparently far-flung
constructions belong together under the rubric of 'split construction'.
Their generalizations are provocative and well-supported, and the theory
is firmly grounded in Predicate Logic with Barriers, a dynamic logic that
provides a fresh perspective on ideas and generalizations that have been,
and continue to be, central to syntactic and semantic theory.' - Christopher Potts, Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts


Contents

Introduction
WH Constructions
Negative Constructions
Interfacing Syntax and Semantics
The Account
Appendix
Notes
Bibliography
Language Index
Name Index
Subject Index


Authors

ALASTAIR BUTLER is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Formal Language Games Research Group at the Institute for Logic, Language and Information, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His research interests are topics in natural language syntax and semantics.

ERIC MATHIEU is an affiliated Researcher in the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics at University College, London. His work is on the syntax-semantics interface.