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Syntax: A Generative Introduction 2nd Edition

18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1405133845
ISBN-10: 1405133848
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Andrew Carnie's Syntax quickly became the standard textbook in generative syntax because it was neither overly technical nor artificially simple. The second edition is substantially better and more complete. The original discussion is expanded and there are a number of new chapters on advanced topics like raising and control, and the book continues to include chapters that introduce alternative theories like LFG and HPSG. To my mind, this is by far the best choice on the market today." Peter Cole, University of Delaware

Praise for the first edition...

"From first-hand experience, Carnie's book provides a highly readable and engaging initiation into the mindset and preoccupations of current syntactic theory. It is useful in tying the cognitive implications and background of current Chomskyan work together with the increasing cross-linguistic emphasis in syntax. The problem sets alone were extremely appreciated by my undergraduates." Mark Baltin, New York University

"This book is a perfect example of how sophisticated syntactic concepts can be presented in a genuinely reader-friendly way. The syntax student is led carefully through argumentation to current syntactic theory and at the end has a clear understanding not only of the whats of syntax but also the whys." Lisa deMena Travis, McGill University

"The book is written in a reader-friendly way, and guides students to grasp complicated syntactic concepts and analyses." The Linguist List

From the Back Cover

Building on the success of the bestselling first edition, the new edition of Syntax provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the major issues in Principles and Parameters syntactic theory, including phrase structure, the lexicon, case theory, binding, movement, and locality conditions. Unique among syntax texts, this book also contains short chapters on both HPSG and LFG.

Syntax succeeds in strengthening the foundational knowledge of its readers, preparing them for more advanced study.

The fully revised second edition includes:

  • Extended discussion in the foundational chapters, including many more sample trees
  • New and extended problem sets in every chapter, all of which have been annotated for level and skill type
  • A new foundational chapter on parts of speech
  • Three new chapters on advanced topics including vP shells, object shift, gapping and ellipsis, control, and an additional chapter on advanced topics in binding

Syntax, Second Edition is supported by an instructor’s manual and online resources for students and instructors, available at www.blackwellpublishing.com/carnie.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2 edition (September 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405133848
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405133845
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By James G. Warden on December 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Carnie's "Syntax" is a good text for the graduate student, although it falls for many of the same pitfalls any beginning syntax book faces. The layout in this book is wonderful. The writing is mostly clear and even has a dry sense of humor at points. Indices are great and it is easy to go back and find what you need. Each chapter - indeed each subsection - has a summary of the ideas learned. For ideas like raising and control this is an invaluable way to quickly compare the differences between the concepts. There are also definitions for the theories and concepts discussed. Great job on this.
Exercises are great. Some of them can really push a student. But they are designed in such a way that to solve them, students will usually have to link ideas from other chapters and draw logical conclusions. This really helps students start to build up a linguistic framework, as opposed to just scattered, disparate pieces of information. He relies heavily on Irish. But, in all fairness, the problems are relevant and serve the student well.
The only problem the "Syntax" really had is where it chose to simplify the model. Any introduction to syntax has to simplify its model for students to understand. The problem is where to simplify. By and large, Carnie succeeds in making complex material understandable. But in a few cases the simplifications can confuse the student more than the complex concept would have. This is nothing that a good professor can't overcome, though. There are also a few big ideas handled in a cursor way or not at all. DP-hypothesis is mentioned in such a way that the reader wonders why he even brought it up (to be perfectly honest, nothing in his models even require it). VP shells aren't even mentioned.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By James MacDonald on October 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I don't know what book Joo Y. Chung (see review below) was reading, but it wasn't the same book that I read. Carnie's textbook is a very accessible text that avoids technical jargon (not "snobbily dumbed down" as Chung asserts) and I think the argumentation is entirely straightforward. For example in chapter 5, Carnie shows how the X-bar theory follows directly from the evidence of replacement operations. The motivations are totally clear and obvious, nothing is an "edict from on high" (ok, in some of the later chapters, Carnie doesn't immediately explain somethings, but he always gets back to it later (e.g. in chapter 6 there is no explanation of why we have specifiers, but Carnie is totally up front about it, and the book returns to it in later chapters. Sometimes I didn't understand the motivations for things until I tried the problem sets, but overall I think everything was pretty clearly laid out.) I've taken two Syntax classes, one taught with Adger's book and one taught with Carnie's and Carnie's wins hands down. In fact, this book was far clearer than my professor ever was in his lectures. I wish there was some more detailed and more advanced material in the book, but other wise I think it's the best linguistics textbook that I've (been forced to) read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kotoschov on November 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book offers a very good introduction to the field of generative syntactic theory. It shows many of the most critical theories and hypotheses in pre-90's syntax and doesn't skip the motivation of the theories. It's very clearly written, and I went through it quite fluidly.
A major drawback is the lack of examples. In order to genuinely understand a syntactic theory you need to know more about the kinds of linguistic phenomena it's based on. And there's more than one unexplained gap in the book - by "gaps" I mean claims that are made without actually being explained. Things that are stated as though they were axioms, even though they have an explanation.
A book without these problems is Hageman's "Government and Binding Theory". As good as this book may be (and it's good), it can't match the 700+ page monster written by Hageman in terms of coverage.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Sullivan on March 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm using this text for college level introductory course in Syntax. The book is a really good source for the basics of X-Bar theory. A few of the concepts lack clear examples, but overall it does a great job of explaining things. In fact, it's clarity (for the most part) helps me sort out what my professor is blathering about. I refer to the book more than my class notes for help in analysing data.
I think this is a great book for both students and also those with an interest in linguistics and would like to pursue Syntax in more depth.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cg on February 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Shipped on time and in good condition. I was worried because my college only released the book list close to the start of the semester, so I was worried it wouldn't make it in time. But. It did, and it arrived around the projected arrival date. I am currently using it and quite pleased.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Human Being on March 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was my first real introduction to syntax, and it was very helpful. I still consult it from time to time. Highly recommended.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Missy Campbell on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
the topic itself is a bit hard to understand but he does a good job. the diagrams are plentious and well done. key words are in bold and are defined, making them easy to find later. the chapters are broken up and well organized with examples and boxes summarizing and clarifying concisely the main points. bolded words and their definitions are given again in a list at the end of each chapter, with further readings on this topic, followed by problem sets. a very Chomsky and generative grammar based explanation of syntax. most of the examples are in english but some other languages are included, mostly later in the book
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