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Description - Predication Theory by Donna Jo Napoli

In this study Donna Jo Napoli takes a refreshingly commonsense approach to the notions of argument and predicate. Recent discussions of predication within Government and Binding theory have stressed the configurational properties of the phrases involved, and Napoli argues that this has led to proposals for more and more elaborate syntactic structures that nevertheless fail to provide genuinely explanatory accounts. She presents a convincing case for viewing the notion of predicate as a semantic primitive which cannot be defined by looking simply at the lexicon or simply at the syntactic structure, and offers a theory or predication where the key to the subject-predicate relationship is theta-role assignment. The book then goes on to offer principles for the coindexing of a predicate with its subject role player. These coindexing principles make use of Chomsky's 1986 notion of barriers, but instead of being sensitive to configurational notions like c-command and governing category, Napoli argues that they are sensitive to thematic structure. In the final chapter of the book Napoli extends the principles for predication coindexing to anaphor binding, by introducing the notion of argument ladders. The overall approach taken here is bound to be controversial, but it successfully handles the data traditionally considered in discussions of predication, as well as constructions that present major problems for other existing theories. Exemplification is from English and Italian, but the conclusions apply to all languages. Predication theory has been written in a spirit of inquiry that offers many fresh insights to all linguists and philosophers interested in predication, whatever their theoretical persuasion. Napoli writes in an informal and accessible style that will attract students who already have some background in syntax as well as specialists.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521368209
ISBN-10: 0521368200
Format: Paperback
(228mm x 152mm x 21mm)
Pages: 380
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 11-May-1989
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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