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The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory 1975th Edition
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I read this as an undergraduate and was absolutely spellbound - his clear division of linguistic structural categories (phonemes, morphemes, words, syntactic categories, phrase structure and, most radically transformations). He was the first person to describe how linguistic competence is generated by a series of transformations; "We take a grammar to be a sequence of statement of the form: - Xi-Yi (i=1,...,N): - interpreted as the instruction "rewrite Xi as Yi", where Xi and Yi are strings". Actually, the rest is reiteration and amplification - how simple can you get? (Except for those people for whom even this is too "mathematical" - but there is no hope for these.)The first three chapters remain essential reading - and remember that this was presented as his thesis and was initially rejected simply because there was no-one competent enough to review it! Imagine rewriting linguistics in your thesis!
It seems a shame that he is probably now better known for his political writings, cogent and urgent as these are.Read more ›