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Aspects of the Theory of Syntax Paperback – March 15, 1969

ISBN-13: 978-0262530071 ISBN-10: 0262530074

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Aspects of the Theory of Syntax + Syntactic Structures (2nd Edition) + On Language: Chomsky's Classic Works Language and Responsibility and Reflections on Language in One Volume
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Product Details

  • Series: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Research Laboratory o (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 251 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (March 15, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262530074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262530071
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"... Chomsky's ideas are not a mere rephrasing or continuation of previous linguistic theories, but constitute a truly fresh and revolutionary approach to the study of language." The Modern Language Journal



"It will inevitably dominate linguistic discussion for the next few years... and will be widely discussed... by all those concerned in any way with the investigation of language." The Philosophical Quarterly



"... the book certainly is very important and very useful, because it is not only very rich in ideas itself, but because it will also certainly stimulate research of problems which were rather neglected in the past decades." Archiv Orientaini



"This book will certainly be essential for an understanding of the structure of language viewed from the syntactic point of view." The Review of Metaphysics


More About the Author

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. A member of the American Academy of Science, he has published widely in both linguistics and current affairs. His books include At War with Asia, Towards a New Cold War, Fateful Triangle: The U. S., Israel and the Palestinians, Necessary Illusions, Hegemony or Survival, Deterring Democracy, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joe from Providence.
I was a linguistics student when this book came out. Students and instructors alike were baffled, spent hours trying to understand it, and loved it or berated it. But no one could remain neutral about Chomsky's Theory of Syntax.
Many years after graduate courses in different linguistic grammars, I picked it up again, and it is a comparatively easy read for present or former lingusitics students.
The initial problem readers encountered was Chomsky's presupposition of a wide knowledge of all aspects of linguistics (and some major theories of learning behavior)-- he presupposes that you have grasped the sources that he either is reacting to or revising: What came before is what forced Chomsky to begin creating his theory of syntax. This is NOT like his later books: this IS syntax, the "technical kind." And that is partially what makes the book so important.
Regardless of your opinion or reaction to this book: NO ONE CAN IGNORE IT, or its effect on linguistics after its publication.
IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO READ 'WHAT SOMEONE SAYS CHOMSKY SAID.' Read the original.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Aspects of the Theory of Syntax is the work in which Noam Chomsky first makes known his controversial theories of language. The follow up to his primary work, Syntactic Structures, this work includes the introduction of such concepts as Deep Structure, Universal Grammar, and makes clear the realtionship between grammar and meaning. This is also the work which sparked the "generative semantics" debate that charged all through the 1970's. If you are a linguist, you must read this book. The theory may be outdated, but the history is the real importance. Besides, it's written by Chomsky, so the language is sure to be as powerful as it is clear and concise!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Alistair M. Isaac on March 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
I agree the one star review below is confusing, especially since, if this book is to be attacked, it should be on the basis of the ideas, not the organization. In fact, I think Chomsky's work represents some of the most concise, elegant, and well formulated academic writing I've ever come across; for that reason alone, this book is a classic in the genre. Of course there are certain assumptions on which his theory rests which have since been discredited, but this book is still influential, even within competing linguistic theories, and is very important from a historical perspective. Be forewarned, the text is extremely dense and slow going.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's a little strange to find or place reviews of such a seminal and magisterial work on a commercial web site. Aspects (and Syntactic Structures) essentially created the intellectual space in which linguists have operated for almost half a century. Not reading Aspects is only possible in the way that not reading "Origin of Species" is. An interested reader can certainly learn the same stuff another way -- more easily, in fact -- but when you come to understand it, you will want to get to the source for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MBA Prospect on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book covers several aspects that conventional grammar theory fails to explain. As a student of English as a second language, I find his work (on the English language) precise and very instructive.
Since this is a new area of attention for me, which all came to happen when I started to prepare for my grammar section on the GMAT exam, I find his work as linguist, the ultimate piece of knowledge on the field. What I mean is that by reading half of any of his book (on linguistic), you develop a mental picture of his theory. He makes any other books I read on grammar, which are essentially filled with rules, just too limited if you try to find further explanations about the rules. For example, find out why the sentence, "I had a book stolen", can have three meanings (Pg. 21).
Finally, what can we say about the person who questioned Skinner with enough grounds? Some of his other work could be questionable, but he is one of the most influential authors of our times with no doubt. I wish more research and development were possible to actually attain a universal grammar concept.
I mean just check out the book from a public library, or buy it if you are really interested on knowing why we say what we say and giving the proper meaning to words.
My background: I learned English as a Second Language 20 years ago. I have an engineer degree and a Master's, both from a US - tier two - college with a great football team. I am looking forward to an Executive MBA from a tier-one school with a terrible football team. I just got detoured with my study of conventional English grammar. I hope my novice opinion on Dr. Chomsky's work can help you to consider this book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yasutomo Arai on December 15, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the most important works of Chomsky's. It is preceded by experimental modelling of linguistic knowledge based on rewriting rules and the resulting conclusion of the need for transformations and is followed by new innovating ideas on restricting the power of transformations. We already see the deep thinking that went into the development of the next stage. He discusses the idea of 'singulary transformations' which the individual transformations were, then, composed of and which later developed into Move-alpha, Delete-alpha, etc. He argues very persuasively for a separate 'lexicon' and the kind of information we should expect to find there. Overall, it is rich with seeds that later developed into the ideas comprising the 'principles and parameters' theory. And most importantly, it gives the shrewd and disciplined argumentation, which became a standard of Chomsky's later works and generative grammar in general.
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