Syntactic Structures Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky’s ( book Syntactic Structures (1957) was one of the first serious attempts on the part of a linguist to construct a comprehensive theory of language which may be understood in the same sense that a chemical or biological theory is understood by experts in those fields. It proved to be a seminal work in linguistics. It is not a mere reorganization of the data into a new kind of library catalogue, nor another specualtive philosophy about the nature of man and language, but rather a rigorous explication of our language in terms of an overt axiom system. Chomsky here sets out his ideas about tranformational grammar. This is a ‘must read’ for anyone embarking on an interest in linguistics.

Available at or enquire at your local library.

For a beginner’s entry to the subject try Linguistics: A Very Short Introduction (2003) ( by P.H. Matthews

If gripped move on to The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky (2005) edited by James McGilvray (

Ease yourself into the subject of linguistics by listening to the Radio 4 ‘In Our Time’ episode on Language and the Mind (30 minutes) available at the link   With Dr. Jonathan Miller, medical doctor, performer, broadcaster, author and film and opera director; and Steven Pinker, cognitive scientist, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Centre for Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California. First broadcast Thursday 11 Feb 1999.

135 pages in Mouton de Gruyter; 2Rev Ed edition

ISBN 978-3110172799

Noam Chomsky

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