366 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    366 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Assuming no prior grammatical knowledge, Understanding Syntax explains and illustrates the major concepts, categories and terminology involved in the study of cross-linguistic syntax. Taking a theory-neutral and descriptive viewpoint throughout, this book:

    • introduces syntactic typology, syntactic description and the major typological categories found in the languages of the world;
    • clarifies with examples grammatical constructions and relationships between words in a clause, including word classes and their syntactic properties; grammatical relations such as subject and object; case and agreement processes; passives; questions and relative clauses;
    • features in-text and chapter-end exercises to extend the reader’s knowledge of syntactic concepts and argumentation, drawing on data from over 100 languages;
    • highlights the principles involved in writing a brief syntactic sketch of language.

    This fifth edition has been revised and updated to include extended exercises in all chapters, updated further readings, and more extensive checklists for students. Accompanying e-resources have also been updated to include hints for instructors and additional links to further reading.

    Understanding Syntax is an essential textbook for students studying the description of language, cross-linguistic syntax, language typology and linguistic fieldwork.

    List of tables and figures

    Note to the instructor

    Note to the student


    List of abbreviations used in examples

    1 What is syntax?

    2 Words belong to different classes
    3 Looking inside sentences
    4 Heads and their dependents

    5 How do we identify constituents?
    6 Relationships within the clause

    7 Processes that change grammatical relations

    Wh-constructions: questions and relative clauses

    9 Asking questions about syntax

    Sources of data used in examples
    Language index
    Subject index


    Maggie Tallerman is Emerita Professor of Linguistics at Newcastle University, UK

    "Understanding Syntax is an essential resource for any student of syntax. Written in a lively, accessible style, Tallerman uses a great range of examples from across the world’s languages to introduce the most important concepts in the study of grammar in a clear and comprehensive way. This is one of my favourite textbooks – I can’t recommend it highly enough."

    Diane Nelson, University of Leeds, UK