Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective
Radical Construction Grammar presents a profound critique of syntactic theory and argumentation, and offers a genuinely new approach to syntax based on the fact of grammatical diversity. Recent syntactic theories are essentially formal models for the representation of grammatical knowledge and posit complex syntactic structures in the analysis of sentences. The result has been a endless cycle of new and revised theories of syntactic representation. Radical Construction Grammar argues that this approach to syntax is incompatible with the grammatical variation found within and across languages. This book defends three fundamental theses: (i) constructions are the primitive units of syntactic representation, and grammatical categories are defined by constructions, not the other way around; (ii) the only syntactic structures are the part-whole relations between a construction and the syntactic elements that make it up; (iii) not only are grammatical categories construction-specific, but constructions are language-specific. In other words, syntactic structure is almost entirely language-specific; attempts to find a universal formal model are doomed to failure. Radical Construction Grammar integrates concepts from typological theory and construction grammar to uncover the genuine universals of grammar. Constructions are represented as complex symbolic units pairing form and meaning. The semantic map model of typological theory is used to map category distributions ona largely universal conceptual space. Universals of grammar are found in the mapping of meaning onto form. Systematic patterns of grammatical variation provide evidence for the topography of conceptual space, which in turn reflects the geography of the human mind.
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Adjective adpositions affix agreement argue argument Auxiliary coded dependencies collocational dependencies complement complex sentences Comrie conceptual space constituent coordinate Copula criteria criterion Croft cross-linguistic defined denoted deranked described distinct distribution patterns Dyirbal elements encode English ergative event example expression fact Figure figure-ground function grammaticalization headhood Hengeveld Iapanese ibid inflection instantiation Intransitive Inverse Langacker Lango language-specific lexical items linguistic main clause markedness meaning morphemes morphological morphosyntactic nominal Noun Phrase overt overtly coded participant roles PIBU polysemy predication Preposition profile equivalent Pronoun property words prototype Quechua Radical Construction Grammar referent relative clauses represented semantic classes semantic map semantic relations semantic structure speaker speech split ergativity structions structural coding Subject Construction Hierarchy subordinate clause suffix symbolic relations syntactic categories syntactic relations syntactic roles syntactic space syntactic structure syntactic theories syntax tion Transitive typological markedness typologists Universal Grammar Upriver Halkomelem utterance voice constructions Wardaman word class Yuwaalaraay Zwicky