From Current Studies in Linguistics

Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar

By Ray S. Jackendoff




Like other recent work in the field of generative-transformational grammar, this book developed from a realization that many current problems in linguistics involve semantics too deeply to be solved insightfully within the syntactic theory of Noam Chomsky's Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Dr. Jackendoff has attempted to take a broader view of semantics, studying the important contribution it makes to the syntactic patterns of English.The research is carried out in the framework of an interpretive theory, that is, a theory of grammar in which syntactic structures are given interpretations by an autonomous semantic component. The book investigates a wide variety of semantic rules, stating them in considerable detail and extensively treating their consequences for the syntactic component of the grammar. In particular, it is shown that the hypothesis that transformations do not change meaning must be abandoned; but equally stringent restrictions on transformations are formulated within the interpretive theory.

Among the areas of grammar discussed are the well-known problems of case relations, pronominalization, negation, and quantifiers. In addition, the author presents semantic analyses of such neglected areas as adverbs and intonation contours; he also proposes radically new approaches to the so-called Crossover Principle, the control problem for complement subjects, parentheticals, and the interpretation of nonspecific noun phrases.

This book is the second to appear in the MIT Press series Studies in Linguistics, which is under the general editorship of Samuel Jay Keyser. The first, A Reader on the Sanskrit Grammarians, edited by J. F. Staal, was published in 1972.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262100137 400 pp. |