Stefan Müller and “Complex Predicates”

stefan-muellerWe asked author Stefan Müller to tell us a little about his book Complex Predicates and why he wants to unglue it. As of October 15th, the campaign is at 29% and is definitely worth supporting.

Q: Could you tell us a bit about who you are?

Müller: I am professor for German and General Linguistics at the Freie Universität Berlin. I mainly work on German and Germanic languages, but also have projects on Mandarin Chinese, Persian and other languages.

I love books and I think all scientific books should be OA. Most of my books are accessible for free now, Complex Predicates is the last one that is missing.

My personal view on OA can be found here:

In order to move a bit forward on the road to OA I founded Language Science Press together with Martin Haspelmath.

Q:  Why might libraries or others be interested in this book and who are the potential readers?

Müller: It is a linguistics book that will be useful for syntacticians and morphologists working on the German language. It has several chapters dealing with different phenomena of German grammar and each of these chapters consists of three sections: Phenomenon, Analysis, and Alternatives. The phenomenon is described in theory neutral terms, so this should be useful for every linguist working on German or a language that has the same phenomenon. The descriptive part relates to theoretic proposals in that it discusses claims about impossibilities of certain structures. Corpus data is used to show that these structures are possible.

The analysis section provides a detailed and formalized analysis of the phenomena in the framework of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG). The analyses are internally consistent which is proven by a computer implementation (testable from the ungluing web page for the book).

The alternatives sections discuss alternative proposals from HPSG. Other frameworks like Government & Binding, LFG, and Construction Grammar are discussed in Chapter 7.

Since phenomena like passive, causatives, resultative constructions, depictive secondary predication and particle verbs exist in a lot of languages, researchers working on other languages will find the book useful too.

Q: What will be done with the money raised?

Müller: The money will be passed on to CSLI Publications. My contract transfers the rights back to me, once all copies are sold. By transferring the equivalent amount of money to CSLI Pubs, I can get the publication rights reverted and turn the book Open Access.

CSLI Publications is very different from other academic publishers. CSLI Pubs is a one person enterprise. It is not profit oriented. The goal is to publish great books and they indeed published a lot! CSLI Pubs is very important in the branch of linguistics I am working in. So ungluing this book not just helps the scientists who want to work with the book but also a great publisher who works for us not for share holders or other company owners.

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