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.
Robert Frank is Associate Professor of Cognitive Science at Johns Hopkins University. Samuel Jay Keyser is Professor Emeritus in MITs Department of Linguistics and Philosophy and Special Assistant to the Chancellor. Head of the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy from 1977 to 1998, he also held the positions of Director of the Center for Cognitive Science and Associate Provost.