Article published in:Towards a Biolinguistic Understanding of Grammar: Essays on interfaces
Edited by Anna Maria Di Sciullo
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 194] 2012
► pp. 57–86
Language and conceptual reanalysis
In my view, phrasal meanings are instructions for how to build conjunctive monadic concepts. But phrasal concepts like ‘chase cows’ are not merely conjunctive. The idea is that open class lexical items fetch monadic concepts like CHASE(_), while some grammatical relations introduce thematic concepts like PATIENT(_, _) and a restricted form of existential closure. I grant that animal cognition employs singular and polyadic concepts. But I think lexicalization is often a formally creative process in which nonmonadic concepts are used to introduce concepts like CHASE(_). In defending this view, I draw on Frege’s conception of logic and Chomsky’s conception of linguistics. My aim, in the spirit of Chomsky’s minimalist program, is to reduce the stock of composition operations that semanticists appeal to. Much of the paper focuses on the requisite conjunction and closure operations, distinguishing them from more general operations that theorists often invoke.
Published online: 05 September 2012
Cited by 2 other publications
BenÃtez-Burraco, Antonio & Cedric Boeckx
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