The Syntax of Nonsententials

Multidisciplinary perspectives

Ljiljana Progovac | Wayne State University
Kate Paesani | Wayne State University
Eugenia Casielles-Suárez | Wayne State University
Ellen Barton | Wayne State University
ISBN 9789027233578 | EUR 125.00 | USD 188.00
ISBN 9789027293350 | EUR 125.00 | USD 188.00
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This volume brings the data that many in formal linguistics have dismissed as peripheral straight into the core of syntactic theory. By bringing together experts from syntax, semantics, pragmatics, philosophy of language, language acquisition, aphasia, and pidgin and creole studies, the volume makes a multidisciplinary case for the existence of nonsententials, which are analyzed in various chapters as root phrases and small clauses (Me; Me First!; Him worry?!; Class in session), and whose distinguishing property is the absence of Tense, and, with it, any syntactic phenomena that rely on Tense, including structural Nominative Case. Arguably, the lack of Tense specification is also responsible for the dearth of indicative interpretations among nonsententials, as well as for their heavy reliance on pragmatic context. So pervasive is nonsentential speech across all groups, including normal adult speech, that a case can be made that continuity of grammar lies in nonsentential, rather than sentential speech.
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 93] 2006.  x, 372 pp
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“According to Richard Montague, the task of syntax is to give a recursive definition of the set of well-formed expressions of every category of a given language; for compositional semantics that is a very natural perspective, since it is not only sentences that have meanings. But few linguists made much of this aspect of Montague’s approach. I was happy when I first encountered Ellen Barton’s work on non-sentential constituents around 1989. I had long believed that there are non-trivial speech acts involving non-elliptical non-sentential constituents, but the topic never got to the top of my agenda, so I am immensely grateful that such an excellent team of linguists has put together such a strong collection of papers invoking such a breadth of perspectives. I hope this book unleashes a flood of new work on this important topic.”
“Overall this book provides an excellent introduction to the structure of nonsententials. The book does not go into many technical details and there fore it is relatively easy for a non-specialist audience to follow the basic arguments and the analyses proposed. The organization of the chapters also helps the reader to follow the discussion and to observe the data, all skillfully built on the central hypothesis of the existence of a nonsentential grammar. Furthermore, as it is suggested in the cover text, the book succeeds in 'bringing data that many in formal linguistics have dismissed as peripheral straight to the core of syntactic theory'. Therefore, the use of these data may be proven very valuable in opening new directions in research.”
“The issues that this volume engages are deep and important; it sets out relevant aspects of the history of the development of phrase structure theory in a very clear and fairly concise way, and it summarizes the theoretical/analytical alternatives in analyzing nonsentential utterances quite well. There are lots of very interesting examples, and a good case is made, for at least some cases, that it would be misguided to pursue a full sentential source.”
The syntax of nonsententials is an interesting and innovative volume that will undoubtedly play a central role in the literature on ellipsis from now on. Not only does it represent the most substantial defense of the nonsentential analysis so far, it also provides a new stimulus for the debate by bringing in considerable amounts of new data.”
“Altogether this is a fascinating volume, especially given the breathtaking range of data and subfields that it brings together in order to explore the syntactic structures and cognitive processes that may underlie the production and comprehension of ‘fragments’. There is so much to learn from the individual chapters and from the volume as a whole. A momentous and provocative piece of work.”
Cited by

Cited by 12 other publications

Kaltenböck, Gunther
2021. Funny you should say that. Constructions and Frames 13:1  pp. 126 ff. DOI logo
McFadden, Thomas
2014. On subject reference and the cartography of clause types. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 32:1  pp. 115 ff. DOI logo
Progovac, Ljiljana
2013. Non‐sentential vs. Ellipsis Approaches: Review and Extensions. Language and Linguistics Compass 7:11  pp. 597 ff. DOI logo
Ruiter, Marina B., Herman H. J. Kolk, Toni. C. M. Rietveld & Ilse Feddema
2013. Combining possibly reciprocally dependent linguistic parameters in the quantitative assessment of aphasic speakers' grammatical output. Aphasiology 27:3  pp. 293 ff. DOI logo
SAKA, Paul
2011. Quotation and Conceptions of Language. Dialectica 65:2  pp. 205 ff. DOI logo
Stigliano, Laura
2022. P-omission in ellipsis in Spanish: Evidence for syntactic identity. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 40:4  pp. 1353 ff. DOI logo
Stowell, Tim & Diane Massam
2017. Introducing register variation and syntactic theory. Linguistic Variation 17:2  pp. 149 ff. DOI logo
2017. Psycho-historical linguistics: its context and potential. English Language and Linguistics 21:2  pp. 413 ff. DOI logo

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Main BIC Subject

CF: Linguistics

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2006042931 | Marc record