Foundations of Generative Syntax

From Current Studies in Linguistics

Foundations of Generative Syntax

By Robert Freidin





This is the first entry-level introduction to generative syntax to develop a foundational approach that rationally reconstructs syntactic theory from the perspective of current research. It shows how basic grammatical concepts are incorporated into general principles that answer some of the fundamental questions of syntactic analysis, including the relationships between lexical and phrasal categories, the integration of transformations, the restricted distribution of NPs; (lexical and nonlexical), and levels of syntactic representation. The book introduces and motivates the basic components of Chomsky's principles-and-parameters theory with an extensive analysis of English and also data from a variety of other languages Beginning with simple concepts of phrase structure analysis, the text progresses systematically through the subtheories of Case, bounding, government, and predicate-argument structure (Θ-theory) to the more complicated concepts in binding theory and the analysis of empty categories. It also contains detailed discussions of overlapping conditions, a full discussion of the Principle of Lexical Satisfaction, as well as substantial material on parametric variation in bounding, Case, and binding. Many points of analysis refine the standard view. Numerous exercises reinforce and extend the concepts and analyses.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262061445 370 pp. | 6.2 in x 9.1 in


  • Foundations of Generative Syntax is an important new textbook by a leading researcher in syntactic theory. The basic ideas of Chomskian syntax developed in an unusually coherent and lucid fashion and then applied in a wealth of insightful analyses. Particularly noteworthy are the thoughtfully chosen examples Freidein uses to illustrate theoretical points and the numerous stimulating exercises for the reader very effectively distributed throughout the book.

    Howard Lasnik

    Linguistics Dept., University of Connecticut

  • Freidin's Foundations of Generative Syntax stands out in more ways than one: As a masterly entry-level introduction to generative (comparative) grammar, as a systematic reconstruction of a fascinating chapter in intellectual history, as a review of basic questions and major results in a central cognitive science, and as a timely hands-on course of study on how to engage in scientific rational inquiry. It cannont be recommended too highly to the enterprising student or teacher—or to the linguist.

    Carlos P. Otero

    Professor of Romance Linguistics, UCLA

  • This is a most timely book in that it builds up an understanding of the rapidly expanding body of work in generative syntactic theory is terms of its most central principles. As this theory grows in complexity and sophistication, it becomes increasingly important to present it to the novice through its most transparent ideas. An outstanding textbook.

    Professor Henk van Riemsdijk

    Deptartment of Linguistics, Tilburg University