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Syntactic Theory in the High Middle Ages


  • Page extent: 172 pages
  • Size: 229 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.26 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521109550)

In this study Michael Covington considers the origins and development of the theories of sentence structure formulated by the Modistae, a group of grammarians and logicians who flourished in Paris between about 1270 and 1310. Some of the concepts of the medieval theoretical framework, notably government and dependency, have survived to the present day, and Dr Covington introduces insights from modern grammatical theories where appropriate. Nevertheless his principal aim is not to compare medieval and modern theories, or to provide a comprehensive historical study. Rather, recognising that 'it is the difference as much as the similarity that makes the Modistae interesting', Dr Covington offers an original critical exegesis of these influential theories. The book will be accessible both to linguists who may know little about medieval philosophy and to medievalists who may know little about linguistics.


Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Before the Modistae; 3. Modistic grammar; 4. Syntactic structure; 5. Modistic treatments of particular syntactic problems; 6. Subsequent developments; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Indexes.

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