This book explores the empirical and theoretical aspects of constituent
structure in natural language syntax. It surveys a wide variety of
functionalist and formalist theoretical approaches, from dependency
grammars and Relational Grammar to Lexical Functional Grammar, Head-driven
Phrase Structure Grammar, and Minimalism. It describes the traditional
tests for constituency and the formal means for representing them in phrase
structure grammars, extended phrase structure grammars, X-bar theory, and
set theoretic bare phrase structure. In doing so it provides a clear,
thorough, and rigorous axiomatic description of the structural properties
of constituent trees.
Andrew Carnie considers the central controversies on constituent structure.
Is it, for example, a primitive notion or should it be derived from
relational or semantic form? Do sentences have a single constituency or
multiple constituencies? Does constituency operate on single or multiple
dimensions? And what exactly is the categorial content of constituent
structure representations? He identifies points of commonality as well as
important theoretical differences among the various approaches to
constituency, and critically examines the strengths and limitations of
This is an ideal introduction for graduate students and advanced
undergraduates. It is also a valuable reference for theoretical linguists
of all persuasions in departments of linguistics, cognitive science,
computational science, and related fields.