Structuring Sense: Volume I: In Name Only
by Hagit Borer
Structuring Sense explores the difference between words however defined and structures however constructed. It sets out to demonstrate over three ... Show synopsis 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. In Name Only applies this radical approach to nominal structure. Integrating research in syntax, semantics, and morphology, the author argues that nominal structure is based on the syntactic realization of semantic notions such as classifier, quantity, and reference. In the process she seeks to do away with lexical ambiguity and type-shifting. Among the topics she considers are the interpretation of proper names, the mass-count distinction, the weak-strong interpretation of quantifiers, partitive and measure phrases, and the structural representation of the definite article. In the process she explores inter-language variation through the properties of the morpho-phonological system. The languages discussed include English, Chinese, Italian, and Hebrew.