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The Syntax and Semantics of the Nominal Construction

A Radically Minimalist Perspective


Diego Gabriel Krivochen

This book proposes a novel analysis of Nominal Construction from the syntax-semantics interface. It is based on the newly developed framework of Radical Minimalism, and provides both a concise introduction to this formal model and the application of the theory to real examples provided by native speakers. The theory, which makes use of mathematics, cognitive science, and physics combined with formal syntax, is explained in detail before entering the domain of the nominal construction where straightforward, clear analyses are provided for multiple interlinguistic phenomena. Even though mainly theoretical, the book has a strong empirical basis and enables the reader to continue the quest by applying the framework to phenomena of his interest.


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This study has a twofold purpose: on the one hand, we will present a new- ly-developed theoretical framework which is inscribed within the “linguis- tics as science” tradition inaugurated by the Port Royal grammar and con- tinued via Structuralism to the present day so-called “Biolinguistic enter- prise”. On the other, we will narrow our focus and analyze the conse- quences the adoption of this framework have for the study of the nominal construction, both in a theoretical and an empirical dimension. The first part of our inquiry will be driven by the will to revisit the ba- sic ontological tenets and operations proposed within mainstream Mini- malist inquiry. With the strictest version of Occam’s Razor we can ma- thematically develop, we will deconstruct the Minimalist machinery and, taking into account other frameworks (mainly Optimality Theory and Sur- vive Minimalism), reconstruct it in the simplest possible way. The interac- tion between the generative computational component C(HL) and the in- terpretative external systems will be reinterpreted in neurologically plaus- ible terms, considering the notions of workspace (Baddeley, 1992) and ca- pacity optimization given a limited amount of resources. The nature and justification of the Faculty of Language FL as it is commonly assumed in current work will also be questioned, and dissolved in terms of the inte- raction between an ad hoc working space (biologically characterizable as the result of the simultaneous interaction between the pre-frontal neo- cortex and specific centers of the brain -D’Espósito, 2007-) and interpreta- tive systems...

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