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home > A Study on Cross-Linguistic Variations in Realization Patterns

A Study on Cross-Linguistic Variations in Realization Patterns
― New Proposals Based on Competition Theory ―

Kazuya Nishimaki
First published:
2018 / 10 / 23
Price (in Japan only):
5,000 yen (Tax Not Included) (180 pages)


This book explores where cross-linguistic variations come from, based on Competition Theory (Ackema and Neeleman (2004)), which is a macroparametric theory of externalization. Its core assumption is that morphology and syntax compete for structural realization. On this assumption, languages are classified into two types: morphology-preferring and syntax-preferring languages. The former prefer to morphologically realize an abstract morphosyntactic structure. The latter prefer syntactic realization of the same structure. Exploring a competition-theoretic approach to cross-linguistic variations, this book investigates contrasting realization patterns in English and Japanese, with special reference to nominal modification, resultative constructions, coordinated structure, discourse makers, and so on. These two languages consistently show morphology-syntax contrast in structural realization. Recent elaborated cross-linguistic survey reveals that different languages have different realization patterns ranging over various grammatical phenomena. In the literature, these cross-linguistic variations have been independently discussed, seeing no principled explanation. Our competition-theoretic investigation demonstrates that the independently-discussed variations can be given a unified account as instances of the fundamental distinction between morphology-preferring and syntax-preferring languages.

This book gives us a fresh look at familiar processes, forms, and so on. For example, competition-theoretically, compounding is defined as a parametrized option for morphological realization; then, a compound is a morphologically-realized form of an underlying structure. This means that this process is available for only morphology-preferring languages (e.g. Japanese). By default, compounding cannot be used for structural realization in syntax-preferring languages (e.g. English), a default option of which is phrasal realization. This leads us to the necessary but surprising consequence that syntax-preferring languages have no root compounding (e.g. N-N and A-N compounding).


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