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- DescriptionIn this book, Ljiljana Progovac proposes a gradualist, adaptationist approach to the evolution of syntax, subject to natural selection. She provides a specific framework for its study, combining the fields of evolutionary biology, theoretical syntax, typology, neuroscience, and genetics. The author pursues an internal reconstruction of the stages of grammar based on the syntactic theory associated with Chomskyan Minimalism and arrives at specific, testable hypotheses, which are then corroborated by an abundance of theoretically analysed 'living fossils' drawn from a variety of languages. Her approach demonstrates that these fossil structures do t just coexist alongside more modern structures, but are in fact built into the very foundation of more complex structures, leading to quirks and complexities that are suggestive of a gradualist evolutionary scenario. By reconstructing a particular path along which syntax evolved, Evolutionary Syntax sheds light on the crucial properties of language design itself, as well as on the major parameters of crosslinguistic variation. As a result, this reconstruction can be meaningfully correlated with both the hominin timeline and the ever-growing body of genetic evidence that is available.
- Author BiographyLjiljana Progovac is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Linguistics Program at Wayne State University in Detroit. She received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, and her Ph.D. degree in linguistics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include syntax, Slavic syntax, and the evolution of syntax. She is the author of Negative and Positive Polarity (CUP, 1994) and A Syntax of Serbian (Slavica, 2005), as well as multiple journal articles and conference papers on language evolution, and is co-editor of The Syntax of Nonsententials (Benjamins, 2006).
- Author(s)Ljiljana Progovac
- PublisherOxford University Press
- Date of Publication04/06/2015
- Series TitleOxford Studies in the Evolution of Language
- Series Part/Volume Number20
- Place of PublicationOxford
- Country of PublicationUnited Kingdom
- ImprintOxford University Press
- Weight447 g
- Width157 mm
- Height235 mm
- Spine15 mm
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