Aspects of the Theory of Syntax

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MIT Press, Mar 15, 1969 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 261 pages
6 Reviews

Beginning in the mid-fifties and emanating largely form MIT, an approach was developed to linguistic theory and to the study of the structure of particular languages that diverges in many respects from modern linguistics. Although this approach is connected to the traditional study of languages, it differs enough in its specific conclusions about the structure and in its specific conclusions about the structure of language to warrant a name, "generative grammar." Various deficiencies have been discovered in the first attempts to formulate a theory of transformational generative grammar and in the descriptive analysis of particular languages that motivated these formulations. At the same time, it has become apparent that these formulations can be extended and deepened.The major purpose of this book is to review these developments and to propose a reformulation of the theory of transformational generative grammar that takes them into account. The emphasis in this study is syntax; semantic and phonological aspects of the language structure are discussed only insofar as they bear on syntactic theory.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quaintlittlehead - LibraryThing

I have a Ph.D. in linguistics, but I have never been particularly comfortable with syntax, especially Chomsky's minimalist programme and transformational grammar, which I'm not sure I theoretically ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - echaika - LibraryThing

Groundbreaking book explaining transformational-generative grammar. Very exciting, albeit difficult, read early in my grad school years. As much as I came to disagree with Chomskyan theory, he really ... Read full review

Contents

Methodological Preliminaries
3
Categories and Relations in Syntactic Theory
63
Deep Structures and Grammatical
128
Some Residual Problems
148
Notes
193
Bibliography
237
Index
247
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Page 3 - Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speakerlistener, in a completely homogeneous speech-community, who knows its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance.
Page 4 - Observed use of language or hypothesized dispositions to respond, habits, and so on, may provide evidence as to the nature of this mental reality, but surely cannot constitute the actual subject matter of linguistics, if this is to be a serious discipline.
Page 4 - A fully adequate grammar must assign to each of an infinite range of sentences a structural description indicating how this sentence is understood by the ideal speaker-hearer.

About the author (1969)

Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 7, 1928. Son of a Russian emigrant who was a Hebrew scholar, Chomsky was exposed at a young age to the study of language and principles of grammar. During the 1940s, he began developing socialist political leanings through his encounters with the New York Jewish intellectual community. Chomsky received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. He conducted much of his research at Harvard University. In 1955, he began teaching at MIT, eventually holding the Ferrari P. Ward Chair of Modern Language and Linguistics. Today Chomsky is highly regarded as both one of America's most prominent linguists and most notorious social critics and political activists. His academic reputation began with the publication of Syntactic Structures in 1957. Within a decade, he became known as an outspoken intellectual opponent of the Vietnam War. Chomsky has written many books on the links between language, human creativity, and intelligence, including Language and Mind (1967) and Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origin, and Use (1985). He also has written dozens of political analyses, including Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988), Chronicles of Dissent (1992), and The Prosperous Few and the Restless Many (1993).

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