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Journal of Inforamtion Science and Engineering, Vol.5 No.4, pp.287-303 (October 1989)
The Syntactic Projection Problem and the
Comparative Syntax of Locative Inversion

Joan Bresnan
Stanford University
Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

This study addresses the problem of how to predict the syntactic properties of verbs from information about their meaning and use-the 'syntactic projection problem'. Principles for mapping argument structures to syntactic functions proposed in Bresnan and Kanerva [9] proposed in the analysis of the locative inversion phenomenon are shown to hold quite generally across two unrelated and typologically disparate languages.

Keywords: inversion, argument structure, thematic hierarchy, unaccusativity, locatives

Received September 28, 1989; revised February 23, 1990.
Communicated by Chu-Ren Huang.


  1. Bresnan, J. and J. M. Kanerva, "Locative inversion in Chichwa: A case study of factorization in grammar," Linguistic Inquiry 20.1, 1-50. Also forthcoming in E. Wehrli and T. Stowell, eds., Syntax and Semantics 24: Syntax and the Lexicon, Academic Press, New York, 1989.