Gradience in Grammar

Generative Perspectives

by Gisbert Fanselow, Caroline Fery, Matthias Schlesewsky,

This book represents the state of the art in the study of gradience in grammar - the degree to which utterances are acceptable or grammatical, and the relationship between acceptability and grammaticality. Gradience is at the centre of controversial issues in the theory of grammar and the understanding of language. The acceptability of words and sentences may be linked to the frequency of their use and measured on a scale. Among the questions considered in the bookare: whether such measures are beyond the scope of a generative grammar or, in other words, whether the factors influencing acceptability are internal or external to grammar; whether observed gradience is a property of the mentally represented grammar or a reflection of variation among speakers; andwhat gradient phenomena reveal about the relationship between acceptability and grammaticality, and between competence and performance.The book is divided into four parts. Part I seeks to clarify the nature of gradience from the perspectives of phonology, generative syntax, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics. Parts II and III examine issues in phonology and syntax. Part IV considers long wh-movement from different methodological perspectives. The data discussed comes from a wide range of languages and dialects, and includes tone and stress patterns, word order variation, and question formation.Gradience in Grammar will interest linguists concerned with the understanding of syntax, phonology, language acquisition and variation, discourse, and the operations of language within the mind.
  • OUP Oxford; October 2006
  • ISBN 9780191515286
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Gradience in Grammar
  • Author: Gisbert Fanselow (ed.); Caroline Fery (ed.); Matthias Schlesewsky (ed.); Ralf Vogel (ed.)
  • Imprint: OUP Oxford

About The Author

Gisbert Fanselow is Professor of Syntax at the University of Potsdam since 1993. He started his linguistic career with a monograph on the semantic interpretation of nominal compounds (Zur Syntax und Semantik der Nominalkomposition, 1981). Later, he specialized in syntax, focusing there on topics such as configurationality (Konfigurationalität, 1987), scrambling, discontinuous NPs, question formation, and syntactic theory (MinimaleSyntax, 1991). At the University of Potsdam, this focus on syntax was complemented by research on psycholinguistic issues.Caroline Féry is Professor of Phonology at the University of Potsdam. Her area of specialization is phonology, phonetics and the phonology-syntax interface. She has published a number of papers on themes touching intonation, prosody, metrical structure and the theory of grammar. She is also involved in a large-scale project studying information structure in a typological perspective. Her books include German Tonal Pattern (1993), 'Phonologie des Deutschen: Eineoptimalitätstheoretische Einführung' (2001), and The Syllable in Optimality Theory (with Ruben van de Vijver, 2003).Ralf Vogel obtained his PhD in German Linguistics at the Humboldt University Berlin in 1998. He works as research assistant at the Linguistics department of the University of Potsdam. His area of specialization is syntax, with a focus on Germanic syntax, the interaction between syntax, phonology and semantics, empirical syntax research, including experimental, corpus and dialect studies. He is an expert in Optimality Theory and has published a number of papers in all these fields. His publishedwork includes Minimality Effects in Syntax (with Arthur Stepanov amnd Gisbert Fanselow, 2004)Matthias Schlesewsky obtained a 'Diplom' in Chemistry (MSc equivalent) from the University of Potsdam in 1992. He subsequently moved to the field of theoretical linguistics, in which in 1997 he obtained his PhD from the University of Potsdam for a dissertation on the processing of morphological case in German. From 1997 to 2002. He was a research assistant in the Linguistics department of the University of Potsdam, before becoming an Assistant Professor of Neurolinguistics at the PhilippsUniversity Marburg. Articles in a wide range of international journals reflect his research interests on the real-time comprehension of morphological case and arguments and its neurophysiological and neuroanatomical correlates.