Friday, November 14, 2014

On reading Syntactic Structures

Noam Chomsky's book Syntactic structures clearly was an inflection point in the development of linguistics as a science. It's pretty clear that no linguist has had more influence on the field, and this book was revolutionary in its impact. It has been criticized for general theoretical weaknesses, for example, by Geoffrey Sampson, and clearly the ideas have been revised over the years as new discoveries have been made, but it's less common to see people point out basic inconsistencies, both internal, and external.