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An Introduction to English Sentence Structure 1 , Format Kindle
|Longueur : 455 pages||Composition améliorée: Activé||Page Flip: Activé|
|Langue : Anglais|
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The material presented in the book is fairly well organised, starting out with elementary concepts, first introducing the goal of the generative tradition as a whole before going into actual details of particular structures, which I believe is both didactically sound and interesting, besides justifing the necessity of the book itself. Supposedly the book is self sufficient, and no background in syntax or linguistics is presupposed, but as far as I can judge, it comes in handy if the potential reader has at least a general idea of the basic concepts of linguistic analysis (Thematic roles, grammatical functions, arguments, etc.) since given the relative conciseness of the book, there is not always enough space to build up the argument from scratch.
The rest of the chapters follow the typical "U-curve" often found in syntax textbooks, whereas an analysis presented early in the book is reevaluated and complicated in a later chapter, and is assigned a theoretically and empirically more adequate explanation. This may disturb those readers who want to see the "correct representation" as soon as they encounter a phenomenon, instead of reading pages of reasoning WHY the new analysis is better than the one introduced 100 pages earlier, but since some of these elaborations presuppose material covered in later chapters, it would have been exceedingly difficult not to use the U-curve without completely destroying the line of argument in the book.
Of course, good as the book is, it definitely has some faults. First and foremost, the framework presupposed is essentially an amalgamation of often competing theories and analyses of leading figures in the field. This is in itself not a problem, since differing views are often alluded to through the pages, but advanced or more attentive readers may find some discrepancies in the framework itself, or contradictions in the text. Many of these seemingly contradictory statements have an explanation however, albeit deeply buried in the often quite unforgiving primary literature, which one cannot expect an introductory textbook to cover.
To give an example for the interested: Throughout the book, X-bar theory is used extensively as a notational device, along with a more modern "Merge" driven conception of derivation. This has interesting consequences for the representation of adjuncts vs complements for instance. Radford itself claims in the book that Bare Phrase Structure is more a leading idea in the field than a widely accepted notation, but I still believe that making the choice of using a truly minimalist framework with BPS notation would have resulted in less confusion.
These problems are dwarfed by the fact that by the end of the book, one will have at least a general idea of many hard-to-grasp concepts like phases, impenetrability, split CP, etc. and can reasonably proceed to original works written by specialists of the field, which will no doubt clear up any confusion, provided one is perseverant enough.
Don't be misled by my rating, I gave it 4 stars due to my intimate involvement with Minimalism, and the sometimes unnecessary theoretical simplification. Nonetheless, it is a great book for anyone interested in contemporary syntactic theory
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