This book presents and exemplifies the theory of grammar called Semantic Syntax. The grammar, which offers a syntactic theory closely connected with semantic analyses, is a direct continuation of Generative Semantics. It will re-ignite interest in that framework which flourished and promised so much in the 1960s and 1970s.The book presents a family of generative rule systems for English, French, Dutch and German which map semantic analyses of sentences onto syntactic surface structures. It provides in-depth analyses of the auxiliary and complementation systems of these languages, to a degree of completeness and precision not achieved before. It deals too with English adverbials, Dutch and German verbal clusters and French clitics. The extremely compact rule systems are directly implementable as computer programs. They consist of a few phrase structure rules generating base structures in the language of predicate calculus, followed by a handful of cyclic and postcyclic transformational rules.
The book concludes by extending the theory to quantification, clefting and question formation, conjunction reduction and subordinate clauses and it also offers a sketch of a syntax of Turkish.Radically unorthodox and opposed to current generative thinking, Semantic Syntax will be widely discussed by both theoretical and computational linguistics.
Pieter Seuren is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Nijmegen. He was previously Lecturer in Linguistics at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. His books include Discourse Semantics (Blackwell Publishers, 1985).