Lexical Functional Syntax
Joan Bresnan, 2001

It says here that Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) is simple, powerful, easy to use, and leaves out a number of the complexities of derivation which burden transformational grammars. LFG is said to be widely supported and to have been adopted widely in field work for a number of language investigations. LFG is also said to have spawned a number of fast-growing off-shoots, particularly in areas concerned with natural language processing. For the most part, such off-shoots are not covered in this book. In particular, questions of semantics are not treated here. References are given for those who wish to pursue any such paths.

Part I. On the Architecture of Universal Grammar

All normal humans, as infants, easily learn one or more of the thousands of spoken languages in use, yet no non-human creature comes close to this ability. This fact has led to centuries of debate and philosophical contention that there must be some common structure in those languages that makes this possible and that such common structure must, therefore, also be reflected in the structure of our brains. This debate has developed, most recently, in Chomsky's work, which has had a profound impact on the study of language and languages.

Chapter 1. Nonconfigurationality
Languages tend to trade off between syntactic structure and morphological complexity. This is described with examples from English and Warlpiri,
an aboriginal Australian language . Thus, the evidence suggests that deep structure, as considered by transformational theories, is not, in fact, the linguistic universal as has been claimed.

A relationship common to the differing languages is the subject/object pattern. Thus, a role for LFG will be to describe the universal aspects of this relationship and its application in forming syntactic or morphological structures.

Chapter 2. Movement Paradoxes

Chapter 3. Lexicality and Argument Structure

Part II. Formally Modelling the Architecture


Chapter 4. A Formal Model of Syntactic Structure

Chapter 5. Monotonicity and Some of its Consequences

Part III. Inflectional Morphology and Phrase Structure Variation


Chapter 6. A Theory of Structure-Function Mappings

Chapter 7. Endocentricity and Heads

Chapter 8. Pronoun Incorporation and Agreement

Chapter 9. Topicalization and Scrambling

Part IV. On Functional Structures: Binding, Predication, and Control


Chapter 10. Basic Binding Theory

Chapter 11. Types of Bound Anaphors

Chapter 12. Predication Relations

Chapter 13. Anaphoric Control

Chapter 14. From Argument Structure to Functional Structure

Problem Sets and Solutions


Problem Set 1

Problem Set 2

Problem Set 3

Problem Set 4

Problem Set 5

Solutions to Selected Exercises

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