Most helpful positive review
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
The 60s Linguistics Nuclear-Bomb: Cannot be ignored.
on November 19, 2002
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.