Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar provides the definitive exposition of the theory of grammar originally proposed by Gerald Gazdar and developed during half a dozen years’ work with his colleagues Ewan Klein, Geoffrey Pullum, and Ivan Sag. This long-awaited book contains both detailed specifications of the theory and extensive illustrations of its power to describe large parts of English grammar. Experts who wish to evaluate the theory and students learning GPSP for the first time will find this book an invaluable guide.
The initial chapters lay out the theoretical machinery of GPSP in a readily intelligible way. Combining informal discussion with precise formalization, the authors describe all major aspects of their grammatical system, including a complete theory of syntactic features, phrase structure rules, meta rules, and feature instantiation principles. The book then shows just what a GPSP analysis of English syntax can accomplish. Topics include the internal structure of phrases, unbounded dependency constructions of many varieties, and coordinate conjunction—a construction long considered the sticking point for phrase structure approaches to syntax.
The book concludes with a well developed proposal for a model theoretic semantic system to go along with GPSP syntax. Throughout, the authors maintain the highest standards of explicitness and rigor in developing and assessing their grammatical system. Their aim is to provide the best possible test of the hypothesis that syntactic description can be accomplished in a single-level system. And more generally, it is their intention to formulate a grammatical framework in which linguistic universals follow directly from the form of the system and therefore require no explicit statement. Their book sets new methodological standards for work in generative grammar while presenting a grammatical system of extraordinary scope.