This book examines the hypothesis of "direct compositionality", which requires that semantic interpretation proceed in tandem with syntactic combination. Although associated with the dominant view in formal semantics of the 1970s and 1980s, the feasibility of direct compositionality remained unsettled, and more recently the discussion as to whether or not this view can be maintained has receded. The syntax-semantics interaction is now often seen as a process in which the syntax builds representations which, at the abstract level of logical form, are sent for interpretation to the semantics component of the language faculty. In the first extended discussion of the hypothesis of direct compositionality for twenty years, this book considers whether its abandonment might have been premature and whether in fact direct compositionality is not after all a simpler and more effective conception of the grammar than the conventional account of the syntax-semantics interface in generative grammar.
It contains contributions from both sides of the debate, locates the debate in the setting of a variety of formal theories, and draws on examples from a range of languages and a range of empirical phenomena.
Chris Barker is Associate Professor of Linguistics at New York University. He has held positions at a number of universities, including 10 years at UCSD. His 1991 UCSC PhD thesis, Possessive Descriptions, was published in 1995 by CSLI, Stanford. He is the co-founder of semanticsarchive.net, and is co-editor of Oxford Surveys in Semantics and Pragmatics. Pauline Jacobson is Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University. She has also held visiting appointments at Ohio State University and Harvard University. Her books include The Nature of Syntactic Representation, co-edited with G. K. Pullum (Reidel,1982) and The Syntax of Crossing Conference Sentences (Garland, 1980); the latter is the publicaton of her 1977 Ph.D. dissertation (UC Berkeley). She is editor in chief of the journal Linguistics and Philosophy.
1. Introduction: Direct Compositionality ; PART I SOME PROGRAMMATIC ISSUES ; 2. Compositionality as an Empirical Problem ; 3. Direct Compositionality on Demand ; 4. Linguistic Side Effects ; 5. Type Shifting with Semantic Features: a Unified Perspective ; PART II CASE STUDIES ; 6. Direct Compositionality and Variable Free Semantics: the Case of "Principle B" Effects ; 7. The Non Concealed Nature of Free Relatives: Implications for Connectivity in Specificational Sentences ; 8. Connectivity in a Unified Analysis of Specificational Subjects and Concealed Questions ; 9. Degree Quantifiers, Position of Merger Effects with their Restrictors, and Conservativity ; 10. Two Reconstruction Puzzles ; PART III NEW HORIZONS ; 11. Online Update: Temporal, Modal, and de sa Anaphora in Polysynthetic Discourse ; 12. The Dimensions of Quotation ; Index