Some Concepts and Consequences of the Theory of Government and Binding

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MIT Press, 1982 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 110 pages
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Noam Chomsky, more than any other researcher, has radically restructured the study ofhuman language over the past several decades. While the study of government and binding is anoutgrowth of Chomsky's earlier work in transformational grammar, it represents a significant shiftin focus and a new direction of investigation into the fundamentals of linguistic theory.Thismonograph consolidates and extends this new approach. It serves as a concise introduction togovernment-binding theory, applies it to several new domains of empirical data, and proposes somerevisions to the principles of the theory that lead to greater unification, descriptive scope, andexplanatory depth.Earlier work in the theory of grammar was concerned primarily with rule systems.The accent in government-binding theory, however, is on systems of principles of universal grammar.In the course of this book, Chomsky proposes and evaluates various general principles that limit andconstrain the types of rules that are possible, and the ways they interact and function. Inparticular, he proposes that rule systems are in fact highly restricted in variety: only a finitenumber of grammars are attainable in principle, and these fall into a limited set of types.Anotherconsequence of this shift in focus is the change of emphasis from derivations to representations.The major topic in the study of syntactic representations is the analysis of empty categories, whichis a central theme of the book. After his introductory comments and a chapter on the variety of rulesystem, Chomsky takes up, in turn, the general properties of empty categories, the functionaldetermination of empty categories, parasitic gaps, and binding theory and the typology of emptycategories.Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor at MIT. The book is the sixth in the seriesLinguistic Inquiry Monographs, edited by Samuel Jay Keyser.


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The Variety of Rule Systems
The Functional Determination

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About the author (1982)

Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1928. Son of a Russian emigrant who was a Hebrew scholar, Chomsky was exposed at a young age to the study of language and principles of grammar. During the 1940s, he began developing socialist political leanings through his encounters with the New York Jewish intellectual community. Chomsky received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. He conducted much of his research at Harvard University. In 1955, he began teaching at MIT, eventually holding the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics. Today Chomsky is highly regarded as both one of America's most prominent linguists and most notorious social critics and political activists. His academic reputation began with the publication of Syntactic Structures in 1957. Within a decade, he became known as an outspoken intellectual opponent of the Vietnam War. Chomsky has written many books on the links between language, human creativity, and intelligence, including Language and Mind (1967) and Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use (1985). He also has written dozens of political analyses, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Chronicles of Dissent (1992), and The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (1993).

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