This book explores how grammatical oppositions - for instance, the contrast between present and past tense - are represented in the syntax of natural languages. The nature of syntactic contrast is tied to a fundamental question in generative syntactic theory: what is universal in syntax, and what is variable? The chapters in this volume examine the dual role of features, which both define a set of paradigmatic contrasts and act as the building blocks of syntactic structures and the drivers of syntactic operations. In both of these roles, features are increasingly considered the locus of parametric variation. This identification of parameters with features has opened up new possibilities for investigating connections between the morphological system of a language and its syntax, and suggests a new role for featural contrast in syntactic theory. The contributors to this volume address these two major questions from a range of perspectives, drawing on data from a variety of typologically diverse languages, including Blackfoot, Greek, Onondaga, and Scottish Gaelic.
About the authors
Bronwyn M. Bjorkman is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. She completed her PhD in Linguistics at MIT in 2011, and prior to arriving at Queen's was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the morphosyntax of tense and aspect, in particular auxiliary verb constructions, as well as on the representation and manipulation of features in syntax. Her work has appeared in journals including Linguistic Inquiry, Glossa, and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, and in several edited volumes.
Daniel Currie Hall is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Program in Linguistics at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Before taking up his current position, he completed a PhD. at the University of Toronto in 2007 and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Meertens Instituut in Amsterdam. His research deals with features and contrasts in both phonology and morphosyntax, the latter primarily in a long-standing collaboration with Elizabeth Cowper, and has appeared in journals such as Linguistic Variation, Glossa, Nordlyd, Lingue e linguaggio, and Phonology. He is an associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Linguistics.