Guglielmo Cinque

Guglielmo Cinque is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Italy. He is the author of Types of Ā-Dependencies and The Syntax of Adjectives (both published by MIT Press).

  • On Linearization

    Toward a Restrictive Theory

    Guglielmo Cinque

    The first attempt at a restrictive theory of the linear order of sentences and phrases of the world's languages, by one of the founders of cartographic syntax.

    Linearization, or the typical sequence of words in a sentence, varies tremendously from language to language. Why, for example, does the English phrase “a white table” need a different word order from the French phrase “une table blanche,” even though both refer to the same object? Guglielmo Cinque challenges the current understanding of word order variation, which assumes that word order can be dealt with simply by putting a head either before or after its complements and modifiers. The subtle variations in word order, he says, can provide a window into understanding the deeper structure of language and are in need of a sophisticated explanation.

    The bewildering variation in word order among the languages of the world, says Cinque, should not dissuade us from researching what, if anything, determines which orders are possible (and attested/attestable) and which orders are impossible (and not attested/non-attestable), both when they maximally conform to the “head-final” or “head-initial” types and when they depart from them to varying degrees. His aim is to develop a restrictive theory of word order variation—not just a way to derive the ideal head-initial and head-final word orders but also the mixed cases.

    In the absence of an explicit theory of linearization, Cinque provides a general approach to derive linear order from a hierarchical arrangement of constituents, specifically, by assuming a restrictive movement analysis that creates structures that can then be linearized by Richard S. Kayne's Linear Correspondence Axiom.

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  • The Syntax of Adjectives

    The Syntax of Adjectives

    A Comparative Study

    Guglielmo Cinque

    A new analysis of adjectives, supported by comparative evidence.

    In The Syntax of Adjectives, Guglielmo Cinque offers cross-linguistic evidence that adjectives have two sources. Arguing against the standard view, and reconsidering his own earlier analysis, Cinque proposes that adjectives enter the nominal phase either as “adverbial” modifiers to the noun or as predicates of reduced relative clauses. Some of his evidence comes from a systematic comparison between Romance and Germanic languages. These two language families differ with respect to the canonical position taken by adjectives, which is prenominal in Germanic and both pre- and postnominal in Romance. Cinque shows that a simple N(oun)-raising analysis encounters a number of problems, the primary one of which is its inability to express a fundamental generalization governing the interpretation of pre- and postnominal adjectives in the two language families. Cinque argues that N-raising as such should be abandoned in favor of XP-raising—a conclusion also supported by evidence from other language families. After developing this framework for analyzing the syntax of adjectives, Cinque applies it to the syntax of English and Italian adjectives. An appendix offers a brief discussion of other languages that appear to distinguish overtly between the two sources of adjectives.

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  • Types of Ā-Dependencies

    Types of Ā-Dependencies

    Guglielmo Cinque

    Types of A'-Dependencies develops the theories of Bonding and Government of the "principles and parameters" approach to syntax pioneered by Noam Chomsky. Using data from Romance languages, Cinque argues for a particular way of delimiting the descriptive generalizations that concern the grammar of constituent extraction, and the principles from which they derive.Cinque starts by distinguishing four major cases of A'-Dependencies on the basis of their different behavior with respect to island conditions. He discusses the distinction between "long" and "successive cyclic" wh-movement, indicating restrictions on the class of elements able to undergo "long" wh-movement and offering a simplification of the locality conditions on the two types of movement. Cinque then introduces a Romance construction, Clitic Left Dislocation, to show the value of separating the two types of wh-movement and offers a theory that explains certain differences between NPs and non-NPs under extraction.

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    • Paperback $30.00