This chapter offers a thorough introduction to nanosyntactic theory, a development of the cartographic program in generative grammar. It discusses the foundations on which nanosyntax was conceived, such as the “one feature–one head” maxim and the universal functional sequence (fseq). It also provides a brief comparison of theoretical and terminological issues in nanosyntax vs. the competing framework of Distributed Morphology. It is seen that the syntactic component according to nanosyntax unifies aspects of (what are traditionally called) syntax, morphology, and formal semantics. This is reflected in the tools used to probe linguistic structure in the nanosyntactic approach, such as morphological decomposition, syncretism, and containment. The chapter also discusses the technical details of the syntax–lexicon relation, detailing the matching or spellout process and Starke’s view of spellout-driven movement. This chapter is meant to provide readers with the necessary background to understand and navigate the rest of the chapters in this volume.
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