Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies

From Current Studies in Linguistics

Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies

By Robert Frank





In Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies, Robert Frank explores an approach to syntactic theory that weds the Tree Adjoining Grammar (TAG) formalism with the minimalist framework. TAG has been extensively studied both for its mathematical properties and for its usefulness in computational linguistics applications. Frank shows that incorporating TAG's formally restrictive operations for structure building considerably simplifies the model of grammatical competence, particularly in the components concerned with syntactic movement and locality. The empirical advantages of the resulting model, illustrated with extensive case studies of subject-raising constructions and wh-questions, point toward a conception of grammar that is sharply limited in its computational power.


$47.00 X ISBN: 9780262062299 340 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 illus.


$24.00 X ISBN: 9780262562089 340 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 4 illus.


  • This work is an extremely lucid discussion of the proper interplay of formal framework and substantive linguistic theory, and should be of interest to anyone concerned with that issue. It contains a highly sophisticated treatment of a large number of current topics in syntax, and the syntactic analysis is quite thorough and insightful. I definitely recommend this book to syntacticians of all stripes.

    Mark Baltin

    Department of Linguistics, New York University

  • This book provides the exposition of Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG) as a theory of natural language grammar that linguists have long awaited. Positioning the theory squarely within the transformational-generative approach, Frank accessibly and persuasively shows how TAG provides a formally constrained and explanatory basis for realizing Chomsky's proposal for a minimalist program within that tradition.

    Mark Steedman

    Professor of Cognitive Science in the Division of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK

  • Phrase Structure Composition and Syntactic Dependencies provides important new insights into a number of phenomena involving A-movement and wh-movement dependencies that should be of great interest to both TAG practitioners and syntacticians working within the Minimalist Program. In many respects, analyses presented in the book are superior to standard minimalist analyses and should provide fruitful directions for further investigation even within the more mainstream minimalist setting.

    Zeljko Boskovic

    Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut

  • This book provides a self-contained and accessible introduction to syntactic theory as seen from the perspective of Tree Adjoining Grammar. It is broad enough in scope to reveal important relations between this tradition and the rest of the field, but focuses on central empirical problems to reveal perspectives that are surprisingly and refreshingly clear. I plan to use this book as a text in graduate classes, and would recommend it to anyone interested in the field.

    Edward Stabler

    Professor of Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles

  • This groundbreaking work investigates properties of movement, traces, and chains in the context of the Minimalist Program, making a strong case for the copy theory of movement and the Minimalist Program more generally. It is an impressive achievement on both the theoretical and the empirical level—a must-read for any syntactician.

    Zeljko Boskovic

    Department of Linguistics, University of Connecticut