Lexical Categories: Verbs, Nouns and Adjectives

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 13, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 353 pages
For decades, generative linguistics has said little about the differences between verbs, nouns, and adjectives. This book seeks to fill this theoretical gap by presenting simple and substantive syntactic definitions of these three lexical categories. Mark C. Baker claims that the various superficial differences found in particular languages have a single underlying source which can be used to give better characterizations of these 'parts of speech'. These definitions are supported by data from languages from every continent, including English, Italian, Japanese, Edo, Mohawk, Chichewa, Quechua, Choctaw, Nahuatl, Mapuche, and several Austronesian and Australian languages. Baker argues for a formal, syntax-oriented, and universal approach to the parts of speech, as opposed to the functionalist, semantic, and relativist approaches that have dominated the few previous works on this subject. This book will be welcomed by researchers and students of linguistics and by related cognitive scientists of language.
 

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Contents

The problem of the lexical categories
1
12 Unanswerable typological questions concerning categories
3
13 Categories in other linguistic traditions
11
14 Goals methods and outline of the current work
17
Verbs as licensers of subjects
23
22 Initial motivations
24
23 The distribution of Pred
34
24 Copular particles
39
37 Nouns must be related to argument positions
153
38 Predicate nominals and verbalization
159
39 Are nouns universal?
169
Adjectives as neither nouns nor verbs
190
42 Attributive modification
192
43 Adjectives and degree heads
212
44 Resultative secondary predication
219
45 Adjectives and adverbs
230

25 Inflection for tense
46
26 Morphological causatives
53
2J Word order differences
60
28 Unaccusativity diagnostics
62
29 Adjectives in the decomposition of verbs
77
210 Are there languages without verbs?
88
Nouns as bearers of a referential index
95
32 The criterion of identity
101
33 Occurrence with quantifiers and determiners
109
34 Nouns in binding and anaphora
125
35 Nouns and movement
132
36 Nouns as arguments
142
46 Are adjectives universal?
238
Lexical categories and the nature of the grammar
264
51 What has a category?
265
52 Categories and the architecture of the grammar
275
53 Why are the lexical categories universal?
298
54 Final remarks
301
Adpositions as functional categories
303
A2 The place of adpositions in a typology of categories
311
References
326
Index
339
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About the author (2003)

Mark C. Baker is Professor of Linguistics and Chair of the Department of Linguistics at Rutgers University and a member of the Center for Cognitive Science. He is the author of Incorporation: A Theory of Grammatical Function Changing (1988), The Polysynthesis Parameter (1996), and The Atoms of Language: The Mind's Hidden Rules of Grammar (2001), as well as of numerous articles in journals such as Linguistic Inquiry and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.

Mark C. Baker is Professor of Linguistics and Chair of the Department of Linguistics at Rutgers University and a member of the Center for Cognitive Science. He is the author of Incorporation: A Theory of Grammatical Function Changing (1988), The Polysynthesis Parameter (1996), and The Atoms of Language: The Mind's Hidden Rules of Grammar (2001), as well as of numerous articles in journals such as Linguistic Inquiry and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.

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