Structuring Sense explores the difference between words however defined and structures however constructed. It sets out to demonstrate over three volumes, of which this is the first, that the explanation of linguistic competence should be shifted from lexical entry to syntactic structure, from memory of words to manipulation of rules. Its reformulation of how grammar and lexicon interact has profound implications for linguistic, philosophical, and psychological theories about human mind and language.
Hagit Borer departs from both constructional approaches to syntax and the long generative tradition that uses the word as the nucleus around which the syntax grows. She argues that the hierarchical, abstract structures of language are universal, not language specific, and that language variation emerges from the morphological and phonological properties of inflectional material.
The Normal Course of Events applies this radical approach to event structure. Integrating research results in syntax, semantics, and morphology, the author shows that argument structure is based on the syntactic realization of semantic event units. The topics she addresses include the structure of internal arguments and of telic and atelic interpretations, accusative and partitive case, perfective and imperfective marking, the unaccusative-unergative distinction, existential interpretation and post-verbal subjects, and resultative constructions. The languages discussed include English, Catalan, Finnish, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Russian, and Spanish.
"The book is written in a clear language and has a very clear layout...The questions asked inspire curiosity and a detective spirit in the reader, and the author confidently leads him/her to the answers...It will certainly influence generations of researchers."-- Linguist List
"Syntacticians like Borer define the big research questions for the rest of us. Two provocative and inspiring books."--Angelika Kratzer
"Hagit Borer's two volumes are a truly impressive achievement. She develops an original and careful theoretical framework, with far-reaching implications, as she describes. And she applies it in what have traditionally, and plausibly, been the two major domains of language: nominals and predication
(event structure). The application is deeply informed and scrupulously executed, as well as remarkably comprehensive, covering a wide range of typologically different languages, and with much new material. No less valuable is her careful critical review of the rich literature on these topics,
drawing from it where appropriate, identifying problems and developing alternatives within the general framework she has developed. These are sure to become basic sources for further inquiry into the fundamental issues she explores with such insight and understanding."--Noam Chomsky
1. Setting Course
1: Exo-Skeletal Explanations - a Recap
2: Why Events?
2. The Projection of Arguments
3: Structuring Telicity
4: (A)structuring Atelicity
5: Interpreting Telicity
6: Direct Range Assignment: The Slavic Paradigm
7: Direct Range Assignment: Telicity without Verkuyl's Generalization
8: How Fine-Grained?
3. Locatives and Event Structure
9: The Existential Road: Unergatives and Transitives
10: Slavification and Unaccusatives
11: Forward Oh!