© 1999

Flexible Syntax

A Theory of Case and Arguments


Part of the Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory book series (SNLT, volume 47)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 1-16
  3. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 17-58
  4. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 59-103
  5. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 105-143
  6. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 145-178
  7. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 179-221
  8. Ad Neeleman, Fred Weerman
    Pages 223-229
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 231-257

About this book


Most linguistic theories assume that each grammatical relation is established in a unique structural configuration. Neeleman and Weerman take issue with this view, arguing for a more flexible approach on the basis of conceptual considerations and data taken mostly, but not exclusively, from the Germanic languages. In-depth analyses of word order phenomena as well as diachronic and typological generalizations motivate a re-evaluation of the role of case in the projection of arguments. Case is shown to provide a syntactic foothold for thematic interpretation, something which is necessary in a grammar that does not allow fixed theta-positions. Thus, this study does not only offer a genuine alternative to many standard assumptions, it also explains why there should be such a thing as case in natural language.


Affix German Index Nominativ Scrambling Syntax complements diachron grammar language nouns object preposition subject syntactic

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Phonetics and LinguisticsUniversity College LondonUK
  2. 2.Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTSUtrecht UniversityThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information


`This book presents very innovative and original ideas, and an impressive variety of data and problems to be accounted for.'
Alex Alsina
`I enjoyed the book a lot and found it very stimulating. In my opinion, it is a very good piece of work.'
Denis Bouchard