website statistics Syntactic Structures - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Syntactic Structures

Availability: Ready to download

Noam Chomsky's first book on syntactic structures is one of the first serious attempts on the part of a linguist to construct within the tradition of scientific theory-construction a comprehensive theory of language which may be understood in the same sense that a chemical, biological theory is understood by experts in those fields. It is not a mere reorganization of the d Noam Chomsky's first book on syntactic structures is one of the first serious attempts on the part of a linguist to construct within the tradition of scientific theory-construction a comprehensive theory of language which may be understood in the same sense that a chemical, biological theory is understood by experts in those fields. It is not a mere reorganization of the data into a new kind of library catalogue, nor another specualtive philosophy about the nature of man and language, but rather a rigorus explication of our intuitions about our language in terms of an overt axiom system, the theorems derivable from it, explicit results which may be compared with new data and other intuitions, all based plainly on an overt theory of the internal structure of languages; and it may well provide an opportunity for the application of explicity measures of simplicity to decide preference of one form over another form of grammar.


Compare

Noam Chomsky's first book on syntactic structures is one of the first serious attempts on the part of a linguist to construct within the tradition of scientific theory-construction a comprehensive theory of language which may be understood in the same sense that a chemical, biological theory is understood by experts in those fields. It is not a mere reorganization of the d Noam Chomsky's first book on syntactic structures is one of the first serious attempts on the part of a linguist to construct within the tradition of scientific theory-construction a comprehensive theory of language which may be understood in the same sense that a chemical, biological theory is understood by experts in those fields. It is not a mere reorganization of the data into a new kind of library catalogue, nor another specualtive philosophy about the nature of man and language, but rather a rigorus explication of our intuitions about our language in terms of an overt axiom system, the theorems derivable from it, explicit results which may be compared with new data and other intuitions, all based plainly on an overt theory of the internal structure of languages; and it may well provide an opportunity for the application of explicity measures of simplicity to decide preference of one form over another form of grammar.

30 review for Syntactic Structures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Odile

    A difficult book to review... On the one hand I admire Chomsky's ability to think out of the box in a period (the fifties... long time ago already!) where the rest of linguistics was perhaps staying in that same box a bit too much. He looks at the description of language in a fresh new way which offers all scholars of language food for thought. Nevertheless, as a modern linguist, I can't help but see this book as 'the one that started it all', by which I mean many decades of linguistics based on A difficult book to review... On the one hand I admire Chomsky's ability to think out of the box in a period (the fifties... long time ago already!) where the rest of linguistics was perhaps staying in that same box a bit too much. He looks at the description of language in a fresh new way which offers all scholars of language food for thought. Nevertheless, as a modern linguist, I can't help but see this book as 'the one that started it all', by which I mean many decades of linguistics based on a certain assumption that has yet to be proven - Universal Grammar. It's a construct, and the abstract way in which it is treated in generative linguistics gives our study a scientific air, as if we were studying types of rocks. The study of grammar (as opposed to meaning, or even actual language use) is promoted to be the main object of study. Somehow, I think linguistics would have been better off if other areas of study (phonetics, morphology, dialectology, sociolinguistics) had become or remained equally 'hip'. Sadly, they did not, and only in recent times is some of the damage being repaired...

  2. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    I've never read a work of Chomsky's that was well-thought-out and methodologically sound. From his political writings to his linguistic concepts, he seems to favor grand, unsubstantiated ideas. I have written a fuller account of my disappointing experiences with Chomsky's work here. I've never read a work of Chomsky's that was well-thought-out and methodologically sound. From his political writings to his linguistic concepts, he seems to favor grand, unsubstantiated ideas. I have written a fuller account of my disappointing experiences with Chomsky's work here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    These are undergraduate notes for linguistics students in the '50s. But as everyone knows, the theory outlined here has important philosophical implications. What Chomsky really demonstrates here is that English is transcendental - there are an infinite number of correct English sentences. And infinity goes beyond experience. So any speaker of English will necessarily have encountered only a small subset of that infinite range, yet will be able to judge that novel sentences - like "colorless gre These are undergraduate notes for linguistics students in the '50s. But as everyone knows, the theory outlined here has important philosophical implications. What Chomsky really demonstrates here is that English is transcendental - there are an infinite number of correct English sentences. And infinity goes beyond experience. So any speaker of English will necessarily have encountered only a small subset of that infinite range, yet will be able to judge that novel sentences - like "colorless green ideas sleep furiously" - are correct, whereas others - "furiously sleep ideas green colorless" - are not. Now how is this power, which we all evidently have, acquired? That is actually not the topic of this book. The topic of this book is: what is the most SIMPLE theory of grammar that is ADEQUATE to the data. The most simple theory, it is argued, will involve transformations of elements in UNCONSCIOUS representations of sentences, transformations governed by RULES of which we are not aware, and therefore are not learned (a fortiori are not taught us) on the basis of conscious experience. The task of the linguist is to discover these rules, which, since they are not cultural, must be a part of our genetic (a priori) programming, modified to suit the form of language we empirically encounter and automatically learn as infants. In other words, Chomsky's Syntactic Structures is a supplement to Kant's table of the CATEGORIES, and serves as a direct proof that Kant's theory of the unconscious SCHEMATISM of the categories is a generally applicable psychological model (which inadvertently refutes every continental philosopher since Husserl, and every analytic philosopher except Fodor).

  4. 5 out of 5

    Valissa

    "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously"

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Thrilling. I have no formal background in linguistics and so was completely unable to situate _Syntactic Structures_ in its proper historical or argumentative context, but I found it lucid, engaging, and completely convincing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jared

    the linguistic revolution begins... until he changes his mind ... and then it begins again!!! ... until he changes his mind ... an- well, we'll get there eventually. these things take time. the linguistic revolution begins... until he changes his mind ... and then it begins again!!! ... until he changes his mind ... an- well, we'll get there eventually. these things take time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie Murray

    The book that started it all off - yet it is clear how far we have come. For Chomsky, this is a relatively clear and simple explanation of transformational grammar. As a linguistic student, it was nice to deepen my knowledge in the background of syntax. The structure of the book was good - definitely a refutation of previous beliefs: but nevertheless, as a student, I was unaware of any syntactic knowledge prior to Chomsky so this was enlightening.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    "We can describe circumstances in which a 'quantificational' sentence such as "everyone in the room knows at least two languages" may be true, while the corresponding passive "at least two languages are known by everyone in the room" is false, under the normal interpretation of these sentences -- e.g., if one person in the room knows only French and German, and another only Spanish and Italian. This indicates that not even the weakest semantic relation (factual equivalence) holds in general betw "We can describe circumstances in which a 'quantificational' sentence such as "everyone in the room knows at least two languages" may be true, while the corresponding passive "at least two languages are known by everyone in the room" is false, under the normal interpretation of these sentences -- e.g., if one person in the room knows only French and German, and another only Spanish and Italian. This indicates that not even the weakest semantic relation (factual equivalence) holds in general between active and passive."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nv

    Practically useless without a primer on the history of linguistics, or a version of an exam or mental discipline that forces you to learn it rather than just read it. I was choosing between this and Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication, and for some reason thought this might be simpler, less technical, and more accessible. Maybe if he’d used Ramu/Shamu instead of John to eat an apple (or the more ominous ‘has a chance to live’ and its blithely terrifying negation transformational analy Practically useless without a primer on the history of linguistics, or a version of an exam or mental discipline that forces you to learn it rather than just read it. I was choosing between this and Shannon’s mathematical theory of communication, and for some reason thought this might be simpler, less technical, and more accessible. Maybe if he’d used Ramu/Shamu instead of John to eat an apple (or the more ominous ‘has a chance to live’ and its blithely terrifying negation transformational analysis). Still, mindblowing to consider that the concept of simplifying grammar by transformational rules atop terminal strings didn’t exist before this, something our post-PC generations would find an obvious programming feature. Notes Independence Of Grammar From set of all possible sentences L, study the surely grammatical ones and the surely ungrammatical ones, produce a grammar that is capable of separating sentences from non-sentences. Strong version: linguistic theory can generate different grammars all of which handle clear cases properly. What is grammatical? a) can’t be based on observed, because from finite set we are able to project and understand indefinite new sentences. b) Meaning is irrelevant, we can pick out meaningless grammatically correct sentences “colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. c) Statistical approximation doesn’t work, because while we come across completely novel utterance, we can still pick out grammatical one, and learn it faster (linguists have taken analog logistic curve of probable sentences and made it digital, where rare ones are impossible, and common ones are possible): a schematic because language cannot be ‘completed’. Elementary Theory Levels of representation: Perform Shannon-entropy on language instead of exhaustive grammar (must generate all sequences of morphemes, without just being a list of all morphemes). So sentence as structure of morphemes, and morphemes as structure of phonemes. Finite state Markov process: Machine with rules that determines step by step from an initial state, producing a finite number of sentences. Human as machine, choosing 1st word, then being constrained in choice of 2nd, etc, until full sentence. Generates sentence left to right. English not a finite state language. If A, then B. If either (if A, then B), or C, then D. Ad infinitum. Finite state grammar then, will not produce all true statements, and also produce many non-sentences, inadequate linguistic theory. Similarly, need more general concept of linguistic level. Phrase Structure Parsing (constituent analysis) provides linguistic description on syntactic level Finite set of initial strings E, and finite set of instructional formula F (with order to perform them) of the form X->Y ie ‘rewrite X as Y’. Terminal string: Derived string cannot be rewritten further using rules. Set of terminal strings given (E,F) is the terminal language. All finite state languages are terminal, but not all terminal are FSL. Then write instruction formula for creating morphemes out of phonemes (take + past -> tuk) Generates sentence top to bottom. Limitations Of Phrase Structure Distributive rule: Z+X+W and Z+Y+W can be merged if X,Y are constituents of same type. Eg: the scene, of the movie, was in Chicago; and the scene, of the play, was in Chicago. The scene, of the movie and the play, was in Chicago. X,Y need to have been derived similarly for this to be applicable. In (E,F) type phrase structure, not possible to determine their background, so cannot be sure. Phrase structure produces sentence not left-right but top-bottom, like the mathematical derivation of a proof. Each step depends only on previous step. But powerful rule like distributive rule needs look back at much earlier steps Similarly, rule that can invert a sentence (John admires sincerity -> sincerity admired by John) to test that it is also grammatical, cannot be handled by (E,F). Transformational Grammar: Take terminal string of morphemes from phrase-structure (E,F), apply set of transformations (some obligatory, some optional) to get string of words. Then morphophonemic rules applied to get string of phonemes. If only obligatory transformations, then it is a kernel sentence. Grammar is simplified, because now (E,F) phrase structure rules only need to be given for kernel sentences. All other sentences derivable from these by transformations. Is grammar speaker-centric, ie how to generate sentences (synthesis) but not how hearer reconstructs them (analysis)? Neither. A description of the sentences it generates. Like Chemical theory that generates physically possible compounds, the basis for qualitative analysis and synthesis. Goal Of Linguistic Theory Grammar as theory of Language: takes finite observations (sentences), establishes relations between constituents, and can therefore predict/generate new sentences. Conditions: Adequacy (native speakers must accept new sentences), and Generality (should use ideas/rules like phrase, morpheme, that are independent of the language). Otherwise multiple grammars possible with internal consistency in any corpus of sentences. General Theory: discovery procedure (find grammar from corpus), decision procedure (is Grammar G1 the best possible one?), evaluation procedure (is G1 better than G2?). English Transformations Terminal string : John - C - eat + an + apple. Kernel sentenc: John ate an apple (only the obligatory transformation). Tq: did John eat an apple. Tw1: What did John eat. Tw2: Who ate an apple Falling intonations for kernel sentences, and rising intonations for yes/no questions. A transformation that converts one to the other therefore also converts the intonation. Interrogatives take yes/no questions and transform them (did John eat an apple -> What did John eat), so this converts rising intonation back to a falling one, like a declarative. Simplest transformational grammar will lead to consequences that appear inexplicable (‘have you a book on X’, but not ‘read you a book on X?’): ie, arbitrariness is actually higher level regularity. Similarly, T N is Adj, must generate ‘the book seems interesting’, ‘the very interesting book’, but not ‘the child seems sleeping’ and ‘the very sleeping child’, Tadj that distinguishes V from Adj Grammar is more complex is kernels contain both actives and passives. Simpler if keep only active and have powerful transformation capable of converting to passives. Explanatory Power Of Linguistic Theory Constructional homonymity: phoneme sequence could have two interpretations (an aim / a name). Grammar should be able to resolve ambiguity (morphology and phrase structure such that one clear interpretation emerges). Even higher levels than phrase structure required to resolve phrasal ambiguities Transformational ambiguity: 1) i found the boy, 2) boy is studying in the library. Transform these kernels to either 1) i found studying in the library the boy, or 2) I found the boy studying in the library. When phrases are ambiguous, can be resolved by understanding at level of transformations, what kind, how many etc, like yes/no interrogative (Tq only) vs who/what interrogative (Tq+Tw1/2) Syntax and Semantics Asking wrong questions (how to construct grammar that takes account of meaning) as opposed to asking how grammar can be used to enhance use of language Phonemic distinctness (phonemes are distinct based on meaning): Fail in case of synonyms, homonyms, accents, multiple/metaphorical meanings. Instead linguist doesn’t care about meaning in order to establish phonemic distinctiveness (medal vs metal), simply experiment, see if someone can consistently distinguish, elaborate/vary till you get some operational criteria

  10. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    Johnson Noam Chomsky The theories of the world’s best-known linguist have become rather weird Mar 26th 2016 in:http://www.economist.com/news/books-a... "Mr Chomsky says those who disagree with his ever-more contentious ideas are either blind or hucksters". UPDATE "are there universal grammar rules and are they hardwired into our brains?” In: http://www.openculture.com/2020/07/an... The critics of Chomsky "In 2005, I published a paper in the journal Current Anthropology, arguing that Pirahã – an Amazonian Johnson Noam Chomsky The theories of the world’s best-known linguist have become rather weird Mar 26th 2016 in:http://www.economist.com/news/books-a... "Mr Chomsky says those who disagree with his ever-more contentious ideas are either blind or hucksters". UPDATE "are there universal grammar rules and are they hardwired into our brains?” In: http://www.openculture.com/2020/07/an... The critics of Chomsky "In 2005, I published a paper in the journal Current Anthropology, arguing that Pirahã – an Amazonian language unrelated to any living language – lacked several kinds of words and grammatical constructions that many researchers would have expected to find in all languages" "...it is astounding that the point that has so inflamed my academic critics was my claim that the Pirahãs lacked subordinate clauses." Dan Everett In: https://aeon.co/essays/why-language-i... https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/fsp/cie... "Recursion is not the biological basis for language. It is an enhancement of human thought." Daniel Everett ---- Chomsky reply: "The speakers of Pirahã share the common human language faculty; they are fluent speakers of Portuguese. That ends the discussion." https://www.lavocedinewyork.com/en/20...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Anie

    The book where it all began. It's a (relatively) clearly written book, and very useful in reviewing higher concepts about what we do when we work in transformational grammar. The chapter on syntax and semantics is especially lovely---that one gets 5 stars. The book where it all began. It's a (relatively) clearly written book, and very useful in reviewing higher concepts about what we do when we work in transformational grammar. The chapter on syntax and semantics is especially lovely---that one gets 5 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Maurais

    Grammar is a device for generating sentences in a language. Those sentences are grammatical which are acceptable to speakers of the language in which they are expressed. Thus we have a theoretical disposition and an empirical component, respectively, for a linguistic theory. Grammar understood as a device will make the purpose of linguistic theory to explore a grammar's particular mechanisms for sentence generation, whereas it's ability to generate sentences which are grammatical to the ear of a Grammar is a device for generating sentences in a language. Those sentences are grammatical which are acceptable to speakers of the language in which they are expressed. Thus we have a theoretical disposition and an empirical component, respectively, for a linguistic theory. Grammar understood as a device will make the purpose of linguistic theory to explore a grammar's particular mechanisms for sentence generation, whereas it's ability to generate sentences which are grammatical to the ear of a speaker will, to the same extent that it generates all and only the grammatical sentences, be a validation of a grammatical device for a specific language. An example of a simple yet insufficient grammatical device is the Markov process, which uses a matrix of frequencies (derived from some stock of observed sentences) that can be used to generate a phonetically ordinary sentence by random sampling. This is the same device used in information theory to demonstrate the level of redundancy in natural languages like English. The reason for its insufficiency is that even though the sentences it generates are phonetically ordinary, they are often not grammatical. What is required is to further constrain this device with additional rules such that it generates fewer ungrammatical sentences while retaining all of the grammatical ones. Phrase structure is one such additional constraint. If one denotes "noun phrase" and "verb phrase" by NP and VP respectively, then one can characterize a sentence as NP+VP. Noun and verb phrases will have a noun or verb as their root with possible affix on either end. Hence NP = X+N+Y and VP = X+V+Y where N or V are the roots and X is a prefix and Y a suffix variable. Simple examples of prefixes of a noun phrase are the definite or indefinite articles ("AN apple" or "THE house"). Phrases can also be recursive such that an affix of an NP or VP can also be a NP or VP. A Markov process which is further constrained to generate only sentences which are decomposable into a recursive phrase structure will eliminate many of the ungrammatical sentences that might have otherwise been generated, but not all of them. For example, the tense used to express a statement will require consistency across parts of the phrase structure in order to be grammatical. The sentence "When I woke this morning I brush my teeth" is not. We require "brush-ed" in the past tense for consistency with "woke". Another example would be the choice of copula used to bind a noun to a predicate depending on the noun's plurality (a choice of "is" or "are" for "he" or "they"). Chomsky proposes that we consider a subset of "kernel" sentences which are grammatical by dint of having only started with a subset of words which will always be consistent in the phrase structure. But that we then allow a set of transformation rules which, when applied, will take the kernels to new sentences in the language in a way that preserves the property of being grammatical. The transformation rules are what principally defines this work, as does the chain of reasoning that leads us here, to wit, the notion of adequacy of a device for generating grammatical sentences. A large section of this monograph is devoted to providing transformation rules for the English language, merely as an example, and purports to show by this that the method can simplify our understanding of some of English grammar's more unusual locutions. It's a bit of a slog. I think what makes this monograph really worth reading are some of the introductory and summary remarks in each section and around the whole work, which outline quite clearly what the aims of the theory are and why the author believes they are the correct ones to take, at least in the context of the philosophical trends in research science that prevailed at the time it was written. If you are at all familiar with Carnap, Shannon, Turing, Quine or Goodman, you should recognize the influences here. This is linguistics as a hard, computational science, not the branch of humanities that fell out of philology ages ago. I don't know of any other work coming out of the analytic tradition which has had so great an impact on a branch of science as the current work has had on linguistics.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sig

    For the most part, lucidly written and articulates it's main points rather well. Chomsky sets out the goals of transformational grammar and generative linguistics very modestly, to the point where it clashes with his public persona in the present, showing the humble foundations within linguistics from whence we eventually arrived at Minimalism, Move and Merge as the toolkits of the modern language scientist. However, those seeking a philosophical or more scientifically (in an empirical sense) in For the most part, lucidly written and articulates it's main points rather well. Chomsky sets out the goals of transformational grammar and generative linguistics very modestly, to the point where it clashes with his public persona in the present, showing the humble foundations within linguistics from whence we eventually arrived at Minimalism, Move and Merge as the toolkits of the modern language scientist. However, those seeking a philosophical or more scientifically (in an empirical sense) inclined discussion on the nature of language will have to dig through the scraps of subtext afforded here. Whilst I personally think Chomsky's conception of language leaves a lot to be desired, and that in the end it sets up a house of cards that many a breeze has succeeded in shaking in modernity (though most of not all have factored into the conception of Minimalism) but the foundations of thought laid bare here are still an open target. Though this has little impact on the work in question, it's structure, and presentation, and more with the habitus it established and survives in. In that sense, it won't convince you one way or the other if you already have an informed opinion of generativism. For better or for worse, it also suffers from a poverty of any substantial philosophy. It is the manual it hopes to be.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

    I enjoyed several chapters of this book including 2. The Independence of Grammar, 5. Limitations of Phrase Structure Description, 6. On the Goals of Linguistic Theory, 9. Syntax and Semantics. On the other hand, the raw syntactic conversation in 7. Some Transformations in English wasn't for me. I found his arguments against the theory that "semantic information is required for discovering or selecting a grammar" particularly interesting and convincing. "Our ultimate aim is to provide an objective I enjoyed several chapters of this book including 2. The Independence of Grammar, 5. Limitations of Phrase Structure Description, 6. On the Goals of Linguistic Theory, 9. Syntax and Semantics. On the other hand, the raw syntactic conversation in 7. Some Transformations in English wasn't for me. I found his arguments against the theory that "semantic information is required for discovering or selecting a grammar" particularly interesting and convincing. "Our ultimate aim is to provide an objective, non-intuitive way to evaluate a grammar once presented, and to compare it with other proposed grammars. We are thus interested in describing the form of grammars (equivalently, the nature of linguistic structure) and investigating the empirical consequences of adopting a certain model for linguistic structure, rather than in showing how, in principle, one might have arrived at the grammar of a language."

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Fascinating analysis of how to model the syntax of human language which revolutionised the field of linguistics. It is worth reading not just to better understand language, but to see how Chomsky approached the problem. He initially lays out an approach based on Markov chains showing the benefits of this approach, and also the limitations. He then goes on to show an alternative model based on assuming there are a finite set of phrase structures, before finally building toward a "transformational Fascinating analysis of how to model the syntax of human language which revolutionised the field of linguistics. It is worth reading not just to better understand language, but to see how Chomsky approached the problem. He initially lays out an approach based on Markov chains showing the benefits of this approach, and also the limitations. He then goes on to show an alternative model based on assuming there are a finite set of phrase structures, before finally building toward a "transformational grammar" approach relying on underlying phrase structures (kernel sentences), plus tranformations on these phrase structures to produce a wide range of (ultimately all) grammatical sentences. Note that this book does not go into the concept of "universal grammar", which Chomsky later developed, hypothesizing that certain elements of grammar in human language are inate to humans and not learned (and could be thought of as genetic, or a priori knowledge)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Cliff

    It really makes me wonder when Chomsky discovered Alan Turing, since it's obvious he has by now but...seems like he hadn't yet. And whether he's ever encountered Chaitin. Between Chaitin and Turing some of this stuff seems...weird but he can't be accountable for things that happened since this book was published (and Turing's work was secret/obscure for much of his life). This is a work of computer science, imho, even if he didn't know that's what he was grasping for. It really makes me wonder when Chomsky discovered Alan Turing, since it's obvious he has by now but...seems like he hadn't yet. And whether he's ever encountered Chaitin. Between Chaitin and Turing some of this stuff seems...weird but he can't be accountable for things that happened since this book was published (and Turing's work was secret/obscure for much of his life). This is a work of computer science, imho, even if he didn't know that's what he was grasping for.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tri Nguyen Dang Minh

    Word of warning: the book is very technical, especially from Chapter 5 onwards. The book presents Chomsky's theory of a "transformational grammar", which is very...cool (I gues). But currently I can only understand about 40 per cent of the book. Will need a reread (or lots of rereads). Word of warning: the book is very technical, especially from Chapter 5 onwards. The book presents Chomsky's theory of a "transformational grammar", which is very...cool (I gues). But currently I can only understand about 40 per cent of the book. Will need a reread (or lots of rereads).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Never read any linguistic books before and I found this very interesting!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Luca Prosperi

    Not equipped for this.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christopher M Struck

    Simple and elegant. Ample for understanding how grammar develops from a few base structures of a language.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barefoot Danger

    To a reader in 2015, this book isn't nearly as eye-opening as it must have been when it was published nearly 60 years ago. Most of what's in here is taught in Linguistics 101 classes, so without the background of what was previously "common knowledge" in linguistics, it's not as groundbreaking as its reputation makes it seem. That being said, though, it's still "Syntactic Structures," for chrissake, right? Some of the transformations are a bit hard to follow, especially for someone without a sol To a reader in 2015, this book isn't nearly as eye-opening as it must have been when it was published nearly 60 years ago. Most of what's in here is taught in Linguistics 101 classes, so without the background of what was previously "common knowledge" in linguistics, it's not as groundbreaking as its reputation makes it seem. That being said, though, it's still "Syntactic Structures," for chrissake, right? Some of the transformations are a bit hard to follow, especially for someone without a solid background in syntax (like me).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Ahmadian

    Chomsky's "Syntactic Structures" deals with purification and establishment of a theory of syntax. There are certain arguments in this book which I could not get at all, for instance his notion and use of "simplicity" in choosing the better grammar is questionable, as he himself confesses that this approach was left unanalyzed. There were very bright ideas in it but i have to say that sometimes his arguments weren't acceptable or weren't sound. Anyway it provides a good insight into the theory of Chomsky's "Syntactic Structures" deals with purification and establishment of a theory of syntax. There are certain arguments in this book which I could not get at all, for instance his notion and use of "simplicity" in choosing the better grammar is questionable, as he himself confesses that this approach was left unanalyzed. There were very bright ideas in it but i have to say that sometimes his arguments weren't acceptable or weren't sound. Anyway it provides a good insight into the theory of syntax for those who are not familiar with linguistics.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    this works well as a streamlined introduction to a fairly complicated idea. a lot is left out purposefully, and the jargon-heavy sections can be a tough slog to someone who's not very well-versed in basic linguistic theory/vocabulary (prepare to do a lot of backtracking, too). but the main ideas become much more clear and salient as his argument progresses. this works well as a streamlined introduction to a fairly complicated idea. a lot is left out purposefully, and the jargon-heavy sections can be a tough slog to someone who's not very well-versed in basic linguistic theory/vocabulary (prepare to do a lot of backtracking, too). but the main ideas become much more clear and salient as his argument progresses.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    i don't know a lot about linguistics but it seems like chomsky has done a pretty good job of explicating not just a way in which grammatical sentences can be constructed, but the way in which the grammar of sentences is naturally understood. obviously only scratched the surface, but was easy to understand/full of examples. good introduction to his basic idea of generative grammar or w/e i don't know a lot about linguistics but it seems like chomsky has done a pretty good job of explicating not just a way in which grammatical sentences can be constructed, but the way in which the grammar of sentences is naturally understood. obviously only scratched the surface, but was easy to understand/full of examples. good introduction to his basic idea of generative grammar or w/e

  25. 4 out of 5

    Misnomer

    As a student, teacher and growing scholar of the English language, this book was vital to my progress. Chomsky thinks inventively, as well as intuitively, about the nature of language and its relationship with generative grammar. The man continues to impress me considerably.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I found this book surprisingly relevant, after all this time, to current debate in linguistics, and also surprisingly accessible (likely even to non-linguists). This probably says more about my expectations than about the book itself, however.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

    The seminal book in the development of Chomsky's "generative grammar," a major influence in modern linguistics. Not for the faint of heart. The seminal book in the development of Chomsky's "generative grammar," a major influence in modern linguistics. Not for the faint of heart.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    A dense monograph, to say the least.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nidaa Fahmi

    The book is very beneficial,profitable and helpful for all researchers in the field of syntax and parsing. I consider Chomsky as a father of all recent linguists.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Not for the novice (e.g. me)

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.