Year of publication
- Some semantic universals of german adjectivals (1967)
- The structure of natural languages as studied by linguists is connected in several ways with phenomena outside this domain. Problems of this kind are, to mention only three: (a) the acoustical and physiological interpretation of the primitive elements in which the sound structure is represented; (b) the conceptual or referential interpretation of the primitive elements that build up the meanings of the utterances; (c) the structural relationships that go beyond the single sentences, usually taken as the largest units to be analyzed linguistically, i.e., the question as to the conditions that two or more sentences must meet in order to form a connected text. ...
- Syntactic features in morphology : general problems of so-called pronominal inflection in german (1967)
- Morphological analysis of inflectional categories has been for a long time a favored field of classical structuralism. American scholars, in this respect, concentrated on the representation of inflected forms in terms of concatenated morphemes.
- Musik und Sprache : überlegungen zu ihrer Struktur und Funktionsweise (1979)
- Sprache und Musik in ihrer Wirkungsweise und in ihrem Aufbau etwas genauer zu verstehen, indem man sie miteinander vergleicht: das ist das Ziel der Überlegungen, die ich im folgenden anstellen will. Gesichtspunkte für diesen Vergleich entnehme ich vor allem der modernen Sprachwissenschaft.
- The semantics of gradation (1989)
- The term 'gradation' is meant to cover a range of phenomena which for the time being I shall call quantitative evaluations regarding dimensions or features. I shall actually be looking into the principles governing the way gradation is expressed in language. The quantitative aspect of the adjectives of dimension occupies a key position which can be systematically explained and this aspect will be the crucial point of the discussion. I shall focus on the various grammatical forms of comparison: comparative, equative, superlative and some related constructions, and indications of measurement and adverbial indications of degree.
- Lexical information from a minimalist point of view (1997)
- Simplicity as a methodological orientation applies to linguistic theory just as to any other field of research: ‘Occam’s razor’ is the label for the basic heuristic maxim according to which an adequate analysis must ultimately be reduced to indispensible specifications. In this sense, conceptual economy has been a strict and stimulating guideline in the development of Generative Grammar from the very beginning. Halle’s (1959) argument discarding the level of taxonomic phonemics in order to unify two otherwise separate phonological processes is an early characteristic example; a more general notion is that of an evaluation metric introduced in Chomsky (1957, 1975), which relates the relative simplicity of alternative linguistic descriptions systematically to the quest for explanatory adequacy of the theory underlying the descriptions to be evaluated. Further proposals along these lines include the theory of markedness developed in Chomsky and Halle (1968), Kean (1975, 1981), and others, the notion of underspecification proposed e.g. in Archangeli (1984), Farkas (1990), the concept of default values and related notions. An important step promoting this general orientation was the idea of Principles and Parameters developed in Chomsky (1981, 1986), which reduced the notion of language particular rule systems to universal principles, subject merely to parametrization with restricted options, largely related to properties of particular lexical items. On this account, the notion of a simplicity metric is to be dispensed with, as competing analyses of relevant data are now supposed to be essentially excluded by the restrictive system of principles.
- Das Organ des Denkens und - die Grenzen des Ausdrückbaren (1999)
- Metaphern bestimmen nicht nur unser alltägliches Leben, etwa wenn wir vom Rad der Geschichte oder der Bühne des Lebens sprechen, sie geben auch nützliche Orientierung in vielen Bereichen der Wissenschaft, von den schwarzen Löchern der Physiker bis zur Computermetapher des Gehirns in der Kognitionswissenschaft. Eine solche Metapher ist auch die Deutung der Sprache als Werkzeug.
- Generative grammar (2001)
- Generative Grammar is the label of the most influential research program in linguistics and related fields in the second half of the 20. century. Initiated by a short book, Noam Chomsky's Syntactic Structures (1957), it became one of the driving forces among the disciplines jointly called the cognitive sciences. The term generative grammar refers to an explicit, formal characterization of the (largely implicit) knowledge determining the formal aspect of all kinds of language behavior. The program had a strong mentalist orientation right from the beginning, documented e.g. in a fundamental critique of Skinner's Verbal behavior (1957) by Chomsky (1959), arguing that behaviorist stimulus-response-theories could in no way account for the complexities of ordinary language use. The "Generative Enterprise", as the program was called in 1982, went through a number of stages, each of which was accompanied by discussions of specific problems and consequences within the narrower domain of linguistics as well as the wider range of related fields, such as ontogenetic development, psychology of language use, or biological evolution. Four stages of the Generative Enterprise can be marked off for expository purposes.
- BECOME and its presuppositions (2004)
- In hindsight, the debate about presupposition following Frege’s discovery that the referential function of names and definite descriptions depended on the fulfillment of an existence and a uniqueness condition was curiously limited for a very long time. On the one hand, it was only in the 1960s that linguists began to take an interest and showed that presupposition was an allpervasive phenomenon far beyond this philosophers’ pet definite descriptions. And on the other hand, and this is our real concern, it is now only too obvious that the uniqueness condition is too restrictive to be applicable to the general case. An utterance of “The cat is on the mat” should not imply that there is only one cat and one mat in the whole world. The obvious move is to limit the uniqueness condition to some notion of utterance context.
- Thematic roles – universal, particular, and idiosyncratic aspects (2006)
- Thematic Roles (or Theta-Roles) are theoretical constructs that account for a variety of well known empirical facts, which are more or less clearly delimited. In other words, Theta-Roles are not directly observable, but they do have empirical content that is open to empirical observation. The objective of the present paper is to sketch the nature and content of Theta-Roles, distinguishing their universal foundation as part of the language faculty, their language particular realization, which depends on the conditions of individual languages, and idiosyncratic properties, determined by specific information of individual lexical items.