1st Edition

The Fundamentally Simple Logic of Language
Learning a Second Language with the Tools of the Native Speaker

ISBN 9780367688295
Published February 8, 2021 by Routledge
132 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

The Fundamentally Simple Logic of Language: Learning a Second Language with the Tools of the Native Speaker presents a data-driven approach to understanding how native speakers do not use subject and direct object to process language.

Native speakers know who does what in a sentence by applying intuitively two simple inferences that are argued to be part of universal grammar. The book explains and exemplifies these two inferences throughout. These two inferences explain the native speaker’s ease of acquisition and use, and answer difficult questions for linguistics (transitivity, case, semantic roles) in such a way that undergraduate students and second language learners can understand these concepts and apply them to their own language acquisition. While Spanish is used as the primary example, the theory can be applied to many other languages.

This book will appeal to teachers and learners of any second language, as well as linguists interested in second language acquisition, in second language teaching, and in argument structure.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: How subject, direct object, and indirect object really work

1.1. Introduction

1.2. The verber is always the subject, but the subject is not always the verber

1.3. Distinguishing the direct object from the indirect object

1.4. Verber, verbed, and beneficiary

1.5. Conclusions

Chapter 2: Perfect auxiliary selection using verber and verbed

2.1. Verber, verbed, and beneficiary in languages with a have/be distinction

2.2. Further evidence for a subject that is the verbed

2.3. If the verbed can be expressed as the subject, so can the beneficiary

2.4. Evidence from English that the subject is the beneficiary

2.5. Conclusions

Chapter 3: Solving the transitivity paradox

3.1. Introduction

3.2. The problem: sentences that are intransitive by case but transitive by meaning

3.3. The solution to the paradox

3.4. Dative overriding in four languages belonging to three different families

3.5. Dative overriding in English (leísmo in English)

3.6. Case created the transitivity paradox; verber and verbed solve it

3.7. Connecting leísmo and "accusative a"

3.8. An outline of a verber/verbed theory of case in English

3.9. Conclusions

Chapter 4. There are verberless sentences, but no subjectless ones

4.1. Introduction

4.2. An outline of a verber/verbed theory of case in English

4.3. There are verberless sentences, but there are no subjectless ones

4.4. A sentence with a mandatory direct obeject and an indirect object in English. Or an insult turned into a teaching moment

4.5. Simplifying linking by one third: indirect objects need not be part of argument realization

4.6. From Hopper & Thompson, Tsunoda, and Malchukov to Burzio. Or how transitivity is not only discrete; it is binary

4.7. Everything is connected

4.8. Conclusions

Chapter 5. The case for the true gustar (Italian ‘piacere’) verbs in Spanish

5.1. Introduction

5.2. "Indirect objects" that pass the verbed inference are verbeds, not verbees

5.3. The true gustar (verberless) verbs in Spanish

5.4. Word order, verberless sentences, and the Naked Noun Constraint

5.5. Indefinite object deletion

5.6. Why ‘encantatarias/encantadas’ are so different from ‘encantadoras/encantadas’

5.7. Is the only object of ayudar ‘help’ direct or indirect?

5.8. Conclusions

Chapter 6. A brief comparison with other theories of linking (argument realization)

6.1. Introduction

6.2. Reducing Dowty (1991) protoproperties from ten to two simple inferences

6.3. Psych(ological) verbs need no longer be a headache for linguists

6.4. Role and Reference Grammar (RRG) macroroles

6.5. Primus (1999, 2014) protorecipient

6.6. Beavers (2010) proposal to change Dowty’s protopatient properties

6.7. Ackerman & Moore (1999; 2001) bounding entity

6.8. Some implications for linguistic theory and for language teaching

6.9. Conclusions

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Luis H. González is Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Wake Forest University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis. His main areas of research are semantic roles, case, reflexivization, clitic doubling, differential object marking, dichotomies in languages, Spanish linguistics, and second language learning. He is the co-author of one book and the author of three other books:

  • Gramática para la composición. 2016. 3rd ed. Washington: Georgetown University Press. A Spanish advanced grammar and writing textbook, now in its third edition. Co-authored with M. Stanley Whitley.
  • Cómo entender y cómo enseñar por y para. 2020. London: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/9780367688295
  • Four Dichotomies in Spanish: Adjective Position, Adjectival Clauses, Ser/Estar, and Preterite/Imperfect. 2021. London: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/9780367517281
  • The Fundamentally Simple Logic of Language: Learning a Second Language with the Tools of the Native Speaker. 2021. London: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/9780367347819