Andrew Koontz-Garboden’s new book

Posted on June 20, 2017 by


The last couple of months have been quite exciting for LEL’s Andrew Koontz-Garboden. Not only has he been promoted from Senior Lecturer to Professor (!), he will also be the new head of department, and he has published a new book with his colleague Itamar Frances.

The book, which was published in the Oxford studies in Theoretical Linguistics series of Oxford University Press, is called Semantics and Morphosyntactic Variation: Qualities and the Grammar of Property concepts. As explained on the OUP website, the book “explores a key issue in linguistic theory, the systematic variation in form between semantic equivalents across languages”. Here is a brief description:

In this volume, Itamar Francez and Andrew Koontz-Garboden contrast the view that lexical meaning is universal and variation arises from language-particular idiosyncrasies (uniformity) with the idea that systematic variation in form arises from systematic variation in the meaning of basic lexical items (transparency), as applied to the empirical domain of property concept sentences – sentences expressing adjectival predication and their translational equivalents across languages. They demonstrate that property concept sentences vary systematically between possessive and predicative form, and propose a transparentist analysis of this variation that links it to the lexical denotations of basic property concept lexemes. At the heart of the analysis are qualities: mass-like model theoretic objects that closely resemble scales. The authors contrast their transparentist analysis with uniformitarian alternatives, demonstrating its theoretical and empirical advantages. They then show that the proposed theory of qualities can account for interesting and novel observations in two central domains of grammatical theory: the theory of syntactic categories, and the theory of mass nouns. The overall results highlight the importance of the lexicon as a locus of generalizations about the limits of crosslinguistic variation.

For those interested, the volume is an open access title. It is free to read at Oxford Scholarship Online, and offered as a free PDF download from OUP and selected open access locations.



Featured image: piece of cover as found on the Google preview of the volume.
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