The Sound Pattern of English

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MIT Press, 1991 - Distinctive features (Linguistics) - 470 pages
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(A reprint of the 1968 edition)

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First of all, I'd like to say that I have no background in linguistics. My review is not representative of a specialist in this field. This book (hereafter SPE) is not only a broadly ranging work in the field of linguistics. It also demonstrates, step by step, the process whereby Chomsky arrived at his conclusions. As such, it is a sprawling book. While a masterpiece in linguistics, this is not a useful textbook for a student merely wishing to learn a brief summary of his results. I found it easy to become confused by whether what I was reading was a conclusion, or just part of the process or reaching a conclusion.
The notation system used requires much practice to get used to. I found sticking to an English language summary of rules simpler. Having said, there are only vague references to key conclusions, making summarizing key rules quite difficult.
While truly a classic, the only authors I have found less accessible would be Buckminster Fuller and M. McLuhan.
I imagine SPE will remain one of most cited but least read books in linguistics.
 

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