Juan Uriagereka

Juan Uriagereka is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the School of Languages, Literatures, & Cultures at the University of Maryland.

  • Structure


    Concepts, Consequences, Interactions

    Howard Lasnik and Juan Uriagereka

    Natural phenomena, including human language, are not just series of events but are organized quasi-periodically; sentences have structure, and that structure matters.

    Howard Lasnik and Juan Uriagereka “were there” when generative grammar was being developed into the Minimalist Program. In this presentation of the universal aspects of human language as a cognitive phenomenon, they rationally reconstruct syntactic structure. In the process, they touch upon structure dependency and its consequences for learnability, nuanced arguments (including global ones) for structure presupposed in standard linguistic analyses, and a formalism to capture long-range correlations. For practitioners, the authors assess whether “all we need is Merge,” while for outsiders, they summarize what needs to be covered when attempting to have structure “emerge.”

    Reconstructing the essential history of what is at stake when arguing for sentence scaffolding, the authors cover a range of larger issues, from the traditional computational notion of structure (the strong generative capacity of a system) and how far down into words it reaches, to whether its variants, as evident across the world's languages, can arise from non-generative systems. While their perspective stems from Noam Chomsky's work, it does so critically, separating rhetoric from results. They consider what they do to be empirical, with the formalism being only a tool to guide their research (of course, they want sharp tools that can be falsified and have predictive power). Reaching out to sceptics, they invite potential collaborations that could arise from mutual examination of one another's work, as they attempt to establish a dialogue beyond generative grammar.

    • Paperback $60.00
  • Step by Step

    Step by Step

    Essays on Minimalist Syntax in Honor of Howard Lasnik

    Roger Martin, David Michaels, Juan Uriagereka, and Samuel Jay Keyser

    This collection of essays presents an up-to-date overview of research in the minimalist program of linguistic theory. The book includes a new essay by Noam Chomsky as well as original contributions from other renowned linguists.

    This collection of essays presents an up-to-date overview of research in the minimalist program of linguistic theory. The book includes a new essay by Noam Chomsky as well as original contributions from other renowned linguists.

    ContributorsAndrew Barss, Zeljko Boskovic, Noam Chomsky, Hamida Demirdache, Hiroto Hoshi, Kyle Johnson, Roger Martin, Keiko Murasugi, Javier Ormazabal, Mamoru Saito, Daiko Takahashi, Juan Uriagereka, Myriam Uribe-Extebarria, Ewa Willim

    • Hardcover $50.00
    • Paperback $40.00
  • Rhyme and Reason

    Rhyme and Reason

    An Introduction to Minimalist Syntax

    Juan Uriagereka

    This unusual book takes the form of a dialogue between a linguist and another scientist.

    This unusual book takes the form of a dialogue between a linguist and another scientist. The dialogue takes place over six days, with each day devoted to a particular topic—and the ensuing digressions. The role of the linguist is to present the fundamentals of the minimalist program of contemporary generative grammar. Although the linguist serves essentially as a voice for Noam Chomsky's ideas, he is not intended to be a portrait of Chomsky himself. The other scientist functions as a kind of devil's advocate, making the arguments that linguists tend to face from those in the "harder" sciences.

    The author does far more than simply present the minimalist program. He conducts a running argument over the status of theoretical linguistics as a natural science. He raises the general issues of how we conceive words, phrases, and transformations, and what these processes tell us about the human mind. He also attempts to reconcile generative grammar with the punctuated equilibrium version of evolutionary theory.

    In his foreword, Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini says, "The vast number of readers who have been enthralled by Goedel, Escher, Bach may well like also this syntactic companion, a sort of 'Chomsky, Fibonacci, Bach.'".

    • Hardcover $137.50
    • Paperback $12.75
  • A Course In GB Syntax

    A Course In GB Syntax

    Lectures on Binding and Empty Categories

    Howard Lasnik and Juan Uriagereka

    A Course in GB Syntax is a new kind of linguistics textbook. It presents the fundamental concepts of the Government-Binding approach to syntax in a lecture-dialogue format that conveys the sense of a changing field, with live issues under debate. Students and professionals seeking a lucid introduction to the complexities of GB syntax will have the experience of participating in an actual course taught by a major practitioner. The presentation of fundamentals is followed by further examples, easily understandable discussion of technical questions, and alternative analyses within the same basic framework. The book fits well between a more general introduction like van Riemsdijk and Williams' Introduction to the Theory of Grammar and the major GB literature. While it has been designed for use by graduate students in a second semester syntax course, it can serve as a reader's companion to important but sometimes forbidding texts like Noam Chomsky's Lectures on Government and Binding and Some Concepts and Consequences of the Theory of Government and Binding.The informal tone makes the subject more approachable; examples are worked out more slowly and in greater detail than is possible in the primary sources; and the definitions and notational devices are carefully explained. Finally, many of the questions that the student might want to raise are raised (in fact, by students) and answers and alternatives are explored. The lectures give an overview of the modular GB model and cover in detail Case theory; Binding Theory; the determination of "empty categories," parasitic gaps, and the Empty Category Principle; extensions and alternatives, such as Aoun's "Generalized Binding Theory" and Higginbotham's "linking" analysis, and various open questions, such as the nature of the Case filter, tough movement, weak crossover, illicit NP-movement, and topicalization.

    • Hardcover $40.00
    • Paperback $25.00


  • Information and Living Systems

    Information and Living Systems

    Philosophical and Scientific Perspectives

    George Terzis and Robert Arp

    The informational nature of biological organization, at levels from the genetic and epigenetic to the cognitive and linguistic.

    Information shapes biological organization in fundamental ways and at every organizational level. Because organisms use information—including DNA codes, gene expression, and chemical signaling—to construct, maintain, repair, and replicate themselves, it would seem only natural to use information-related ideas in our attempts to understand the general nature of living systems, the causality by which they operate, the difference between living and inanimate matter, and the emergence, in some biological species, of cognition, emotion, and language. And yet philosophers and scientists have been slow to do so. This volume fills that gap. Information and Living Systems offers a collection of original chapters in which scientists and philosophers discuss the informational nature of biological organization at levels ranging from the genetic to the cognitive and linguistic.

    The chapters examine not only familiar information-related ideas intrinsic to the biological sciences but also broader information-theoretic perspectives used to interpret their significance. The contributors represent a range of disciplines, including anthropology, biology, chemistry, cognitive science, information theory, philosophy, psychology, and systems theory, thus demonstrating the deeply interdisciplinary nature of the volume's bioinformational theme.

    • Hardcover $53.00