RPs and the nature of lexical and syntactic categories in Role and Reference Grammar

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Many syntactic theories assume a universal set of lexical categories, and they further assume these lexical categories are the basis of endocentric phrasal projections in the syntax. Role and Reference Grammar [RRG] makes neither of these assumptions, and in this paper an RRG account of lexical categories is developed, and it is argued that only noun and verb can be considered to be truly universal. Furthermore, the non-endocentric syntactic categories of RRG are expanded to include referring expressions, thereby solving problems that have plagued lexical-category-based, endocentric analyses. Finally, the issue of gradience in lexical categories is addressed, and it is argued that category labels like “noun” and “verb” are descriptive labels for words that share a large number of morpholexical and morphosyntactic properties, not theoretical concepts.


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