In this book, Peter Culicover introduces the analysis of natural language within the broader question of how language works - of how people use languages to configure words and morphemes in order to express meanings. He focuses both on the syntactic and morphosyntactic devices that languages use, and on the conceptual structures that correspond to particular aspects of linguistic form. He seeks to explain linguistic forms and in the process to show how these correspond with meanings.
The book's clear, step-by-step exposition is presented within the Simpler Syntax framework whose development has been led by the author and Ray Jackendoff over the last fifteen years. This integrates syntactic theory with the representation of conceptual structure and casts fresh light on the interface between syntax and semantics. It also enables elegant and economical analyses of natural language phenomena without recourse to such abstract devices as functional heads and uniform binary branching.
Peter Culicover opens his account with an overview of the nature of language and the aims of its analysis. He then divides the book into parts devoted to syntactic categories, syntactic structure and argument structure, argument realization, unbounded dependencies, and clausal structure. He provides exercises, problems, and suggestions for further reading throughout the book.