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Challenges at the Syntax-Semantics-Pragmatics Interface: A Role and Reference Grammar Perspective

This volume brings together recent scholarship addressing a number of significant issues in linguistic theory and description, including verb classification, case marking, comparative constructions, noun phrase structure, clause linkage and reference-tracking in discourse. These topics are discussed with respect to a wide range of languages, including Bamunka (Bantu), Biblical Hebrew, Japanese, Persian, Pitjantjatjara (Australia), Russian and Taiwan Sign Language. The theoretical perspective employed in these analyses is that of Role and Reference Grammar (RRG), a theory which strives to describe language structure and grammatical phenomena in terms of the interaction of syntax, semantics and discourse-pragmatics. RRG differs from other parallel-architecture, constructionally-oriented theories in important ways, particularly with respect to the ability to formulate cross-linguistic generalizations. The ability of RRG to facilitate the formulation of cross-linguistic generalizations is exemplified well in the contributions to this volume. As such, this text makes important theoretical and descriptive contributions to contemporary linguistic discussions.


Robert D. Van Valin Jr. received his PhD in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1977. He has taught at the University of Arizona, Temple University, the University of California, Davis, and the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. He also served as Professor of General Linguistics at the Heinrich Heine University, Germany. In 2006, he received the Research Award for Outstanding Scholars from Outside of Germany from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and, in 2008, he was awarded a Max Planck Fellowship from the Max Planck Society. His research is focused on theoretical linguistics, especially syntactic theory and theories of information structure, as well as the Siouan language Lakhota. He has played a leading role in the development of the theory of Role and Reference Grammar.

“[This volume] includes some of the papers previously presented at RRG conferences which, in this reviewer’s opinion, adds an interesting dimension. Besides various proposals on how to tackle different issues from the point of view of RRG, it also offers some insights into a theory-internal discussion, for instance, as found in the papers of Osswald (pp. 3-30), Nakamura (pp. 135-168), and Van Valin (pp. 241-256). […] [It] demonstrates a very strong cross-linguistic orientation of the RRG framework (given the wide array of languages described across its chapters), once again proving RRG’s ability to adapt to typologically distinct languages from all over the world.”
David M. Karaj
University of Pavia, Italy; LINGUIST List 33.2058

Ciara Anderson

Sergio Ibáñez Cerda

Jung-hsing Chang

Jens Fleischhauer

Hideki Kishimoto

Anja Latrouite

Chien-hung Lin

Wataru Nakamura

Rainer Osswald

Conor Pyle

Koen Van Hooste

Robert D. Van Valin Jr.

Nicolai Winther-Nielsen

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ISBN: 1-5275-6747-8

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-6747-4

Release Date: 26th May 2021

Pages: 330

Price: £64.99

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ISBN: 1-5275-9810-1

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-9810-2

Release Date: 22nd April 2023

Pages: 330

Price: £32.99

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