Questions of Form and Interpretation

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1 Scopus citations


Two of the central issues in the theory of grammar have to do with the independence of grammar (with regard to other systems of knowledge and belief) and the independence of syntax (with regard to semantics). This article surveys some of the questions that arise, as they have been treated during the 50-year period since the formation of the Linguistic Society of America in 1924. Jespersen’s account of these topics, as outlined in 1924, is discussed. For roughly the first half of this history, his questions and concerns had little impact. In the past 25 years they have been a major topic of investigation in American linguistics. Several versions of an ‘autonomy thesis’ for syntax are discussed, in the context of a restatement, in somewhat different terms, of Jespersen’s thesis on these matters. It is argued that Jespersen’s thesis, so understood, remains quite plausible, and that a somewhat sharper version withstands criticisms that might be thought to apply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)9783110850420
ISBN (Print)9783110132823
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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