This book provides a synopsis of Seuren's work in linguistic theory, syntax, semantics, and creole linguistics over the past three decades.This book contains a collection of twenty-two papers written by the author between 1972 and 1999, reflecting the development of his highly independent ideas over this period.
The papers, which are still topical today, are divided into four sections: General Theory, Syntax, Semantics, and Creole Linguistics.This book collects the best and most influential essays of one of the world's most original linguistic scholars and thinkers. They show Pieter Seuren's remarkable erudition from classical antiquity to current theory, his descriptive and theoretical sophistication, and his beautiful clarity of style. They provide many examples of the cogency of his argument and his willingness to speak out trenchantly against accepted wisdom. In the extensive introduction the author describes the evolution of his theoretical position and its development in relation to Chomskyan syntactic theory and model-theoretic semantics. He argues here and throughout the book that grammar and semantics should be studied as branches of cognitive science, not as mere formalisms. He propounds, develops, and applies a theory of semantic syntax in which a grammar is seen as a mediating device between propositionally structured thoughts and corresponding surface structures. He rejects conventional notions of autonomous grammar as unsustainable and, in a realist theory of language, unnecessary. He demonstrates that his semantic theory achieves empirically adequate and formally precise explanatory generalizations, developing a theory of discourse semantics as a means of providing elegant accounts of topic-comment structure. The twenty-two essays are divided into four parts dealing broadly with general theory, syntax, semantics, and the linguistics of creole languages. Many of the author's classic papers will be found here, including those on autonomous versus semantic syntax, predicate raising and datives, clitic pronoun clusters, donkey anaphora ('every man who owns a donkey beats it'), serial verb constructions, and many more. Provocative and thoughtful, accessible and entertaining, they add up to a book of real, enduring value.This book collects the best work of one of the world's most original linguistic thinkers ... This is a book of real, enduring value.`This collection of articles from Pieter Seuren, my first linguisticsteacher, will introduce to a wider public one of linguistic's most originalminds, a scholar who has never feared to tread his own path and whose studentshave benefitted not only from his insight but also from his example. Thearticles in this collection, ranging from formal semantics to Creole studies,raise essential questions at the heart of linguistic theory and practice.'Bernard Comrie, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology,LeipzigThis book collects the best work of one of the world's most original linguistic thinkers. In an extensive introduction Pieter Seuren describes the evolution of his theoretical position. He argues throughout the book that grammar and semantics should be studied as branches of cognitive science, developing and applying an elegant and explanatory theory of semantic syntax. The four parts, dealing with general theory, syntax, semantics, and the linguistics of creoles, include the author's most frequently cited papers plus several published in English for the first time. This is a book of real, enduring value.
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