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Authors note This document is an uncorrected prepublication version of the manuscript of Simpler Syntax by Peter W Culicover and Ray Jackendoff Oxford Oxford University Press 2005 The actual published book will have a different organization in that the longer chapters are broken into two chapters Please do not cite this version but the published version Chapter One Why Simpler Syntax 1 1 Different notions of simplicity Within the tradition of generative grammar the most prominent focus of linguistic research has been the syntactic component the part of language concerned with the grammatical organization of words and phrases The present study will develop and defend a view of the syntactic component that is on one hand thoroughly within the generative tradition but that is on the other hand markedly at odds with views of syntax that have developed in mainstream generative grammar MGG 1 Our approach concurs in many respects with many alternative theories of generative syntax most notably Head Driven Phrase Structure Grammar Pollard and Sag 1987 1994 Lexical Functional Grammar Bresnan 1982a 2001 and Construction Grammar Fillmore 1988 Fillmore and Kay 1993 Zwicky 1994 Goldberg 1995 2005 it also shares commonalities with others such as Autolexical Syntax Sadock 1991 2003 and Role and Reference Grammar Van Valin and LaPolla 1997 We will refer to this collection on occasion as the alternative generative theories The differences between our approach and the mainstream can be divided roughly into two major aspects which it is important to distinguish The first aspect is technological what formal devices does the theory adopt for its description of language The second deeper and more difficult to characterize precisely is the theory s vision of what language is like Insofar as possible we will attempt to sort out what in our approach to syntax is technological and what is conceptual and in which of these respects we concur with and differ from both MGG and the alternative

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