Syntax: A Linguistic Introduction to Sentence Structure

Front Cover
The study of syntax is fundamental to linguistics and language study, but it is often taught solely within the framework of transformational grammar. This book is unique in several respects: it introduces the basic concepts used in the description of syntax, independently of any single model of grammar. Most grammatical models fail to deal adequately with one aspect of syntax or another, and the authors argue that an understanding of the concepts used in any full description of language is crucial for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of formal grammars. Formal approaches to some of these concepts are critically examined. This book will train students, of either linguistics or language, to understand and make the best use of any grammar they encounter. Secondly, the book deals with the whole of syntax from immediate constituents and relations between sentences. It also examines concepts like subject and object, agent and patient, topic, comment and theme. Thirdly, there is a section on morphology, and a discussion of the relationship between syntax and morphology.
As a book which explains, in a lucid and approachable way, why linguists have adopted certain solutions to problems and not others, this will be an invaluable introductory text. It is profusely illustrated with diagrams, and there are sets of exercises for every chapter which can be used in class, or by students working independently.
This second edition has been extensively revised to take account of recent developments in syntactic studies.
 

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Contents

Constituent structure
11
Form classes
23
Constituent structure grammar
39
Formal grammars
51
Verbs and nouns
61
Adjectives and prepositions
82
Optional constituents
89
Embedding recursion and ambiguity
115
Morphemes and morphs
174
The morphology of the English verb
191
Lexical morphology
224
Form classes and grammatical categories
234
the encoding of dependency
257
Processes and participants
292
Grammatical functions
313
Sentences in texts
343

Relations between sentences
125
The sentence
143
Words and morphemes
155
Further reading
371
Index
377
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