Syntax in the Atom

Wolfram Hinzen

in The Oxford Handbook of Compositionality

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199541072
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Syntax in the Atom

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



The organization of words into phrases and sentences is what is traditionally associated with syntax: the “syntagmatic” (“horizontal”) combinatoriality in human language. Surface language, crucially including word formation, is a mere “expression” of deep thought, and whatever word-level regularities can be found ought to be studied as regularities of thought unmediated by lexical expression. Argument structure is syntactic, necessarily, since it is to be identified with the syntactic structures projected by lexical heads. The configurational position that an argument ends up in may be the result of syntactic processes that are subject to standard syntactic constraints such as locality—lending support to the inherently syntactic character of conceptual structures of the basic thematic kind, as well as to lexical decomposition.

Keywords: lexical decomposition; syntax; human language; lexical expression; syntactic structures

Article.  9197 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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