Download Linguistic Minimalism: Origins, Concepts, Methods, and Aims by Cedric Boeckx PDF

By Cedric Boeckx

Boeckx examines the rules and explains the underlying philosophy of the Minimalist application for linguistic thought, the main radical model up to now of Noam Chomsky's naturalistic method of language. He exemplifies its tools, considers the importance of its effects, and explores its roots and antecedents. He disentangles and clarifies present debates and exhibits how the Minimalist application lies on the centre of the company to appreciate the human language school. The booklet is written for everybody in and outdoors the sphere who desires to learn about present advancements in theoretical linguistics.

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Extra resources for Linguistic Minimalism: Origins, Concepts, Methods, and Aims

Example text

One may imagine a system where the very same level of structure can be read appropriately on both the sound side and the meaning side. But biologically, human languages seem diVerent. Even if we set aside the irreducible fact that diVerent languages have diVerent ways of expressing the same meaning (diVerent words for the same concept), they also appear to have diVerent ways of combining words to achieve the same sentence meaning. For example, English speakers must start sentences with question words like who, what, where, etc.

But it has two scope readings. It can either mean that all the girls kissed one and the same boy, or that each girl (of a relevant set established in discourse) kissed a diVerent boy. Which level of Structure can express this diVerence? It cannot be Deep Structure, since we have established that scope is aVected by transformations, and it cannot be Surface Structure. Scientists are always creative in such paradoxical situations, and linguists are no exception. They came up with an extra level of representation, which they called Logical Form, where the relevant scope facts can be expressed.

I will limit myself to oVering a taste of Chomsky’s reasoning. In addition to main verbs in sentences like John sings, John laughed, English makes use of auxiliary verbs that give rise to sentences like John has sung, John will sing, John must run, John is running, etc. ), have, and be. They can be 36 The Minimalist Roots combined into sentences like John will have left, John will be running, John has been running, John may have been running, etc. Chomsky’s genius was to uncover signiWcant generalizations when auxiliaries are combined, and express them in a compact, equation-like formula.

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