One of the central issues in modern linguistics has been the relationship between syntax and semantics. Within the framework of generative grammar, established by Chomsky in the early 1960s, it has been assumed that syntax is distinct from, and independent of, semantics. This premise has been challenged recently by Chomsky himself; he now proposes semantics, and in particular thematic roles, as the basis for generating syntactic structures.
Yael Ravin argues that thematic roles are not valid semantic entities, and that syntax and semantics are indeed autonomous and independent of one another. She advocates a Decompositional approach to
lexical semantics, in the spirit of Katz's semantic theory. In the course of her argument she discusses theoretical issues such as indeterminacy and ambiguity, lexical configuration rules, and lexical projection, and analyses the semantic content of event concepts such as causation, action, and change.
'Ravin's book is ... timely and important ... it addresses the yet bigger theoretical issue of the autonomy of the several components of the grammar, in particular the autonomy of semantic representation. Ravin is to be applauded for directly addressing this central, and often controversial matter.'
Linguistics, Volume 28, 1992
Introduction: The relationship between syntax and semantics; A restrictive versus a non-restrictive approach; Fillmore's case theory; Chomsky's theory of government and binding; Jackendoff's semantic theory; The MLP correction theory; A theory of semantic decomposition (I); A theory of semantic decomposition (II); An analysis of some event concepts (I); An analysis of some event concepts (II); The relationship between syntax and semantics revisited
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 6th September 1990
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.1 x 14.4
Weight (kg): 0.46