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Language Arts & Disciplines General

Modular Design of Grammar

edited by I. Wayan Arka, Ash Asudeh & Tracy Holloway King

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2021
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2021
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This volume presents the latest research in linguistic modules and interfaces in Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG). LFG has a highly modular design that models the linguistic system as a set of discreet submodules that include, among others, constituent structure, functional structure, argument structure, semantic structure, and prosodic structure; each module has its own coherent properties and is related to other modules by correspondence functions.

Following a detailed introduction, Part I examines the nature of linguistic structures, interfaces, and representations in LFG's architecture and ontology. Parts II and III are concerned with problems, analyses, and generalizations associated with linguistic phenomena of long-standing theoretical significance, including agreement, reciprocals, possessives, reflexives, raising, subjecthood, and relativization, demonstrating how these phenomena can be naturally accounted for within LFG's modular architecture. Part IV explores issues of the synchronic and diachronic dynamics of syntactic categories in grammar, such as unlike category coordination, fuzzy categorial edges, and consequences of decategorialization, providing explicit LFG solutions to such problems, including those resulting from language change in progress. The final part re-examines and refines the precise representations and interfaces of syntax with morphology, semantics, and pragmatics to account for challenging facts such as suspended affixation, prosody in multiple question word interrogatives and information structure, anaphoric dependencies, and idioms. The volume draws on data from a range of typologically diverse languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Icelandic, Kelabit, Polish, and Urdu, and will be of interest not only to those working in LFG and related frameworks, but to all those working on linguistic interfaces from a variety of theoretical standpoints.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

I Wayan Arka is Professor in Linguistics at The Australian National University and Universitas Udayana. His research interests include descriptive, theoretical, and typological linguistics, with areal focus on the Austronesian and Papuan languages of Indonesia. His research examines the interfaces of morphology, syntax, and semantics/pragmatics framed in a larger socio-cultural context. His current projects include the Enggano Project and the ethnobiological-linguistic documentation of Marori. He has carried out extensive linguistic fieldwork and organized capacity building/advocacy programs for minority language communities in Indonesia.

Ash Asudeh is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and the Director of the Center for Language Sciences at the University of Rochester. He has previously held positions at the University of Oxford and Carleton University, with which he remains affiliated. His research interests include syntax, semantics, pragmatics, language and logic/computation, and cognitive science. His publications include The Logic of Pronominal Resumption (OUP, 2012), Lexical-Functional Syntax (with Joan Bresnan, Ida Toivonen, and Stephen Wechsler; Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), and Enriched Meanings (with Gianluca Giorgolo; OUP, 2020).

Tracy Holloway King is a principal scientist at Adobe, focusing on search and natural language processing. She has a PhD in Linguistics from Stanford University, where her dissertation was on how word order encodes discourse functions in Russian. She began her career in Xerox PARC's Natural Language Theory and Technology group, focusing on the implementation of broad coverage grammars in Lexical Functional Grammar. She then shifted her focus to search relevance and short text processing working at Microsoft Bing, eBay's Search Science team, Amazon's product search team, and now Adobe.

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