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
8 Wh-constructions: questions and relative clauses
9 Asking questions about syntax
Sources of data used in examples
"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