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This new edition of Syntax: A functional-typological introduction is at many points radically revised. In the previous edition (1984) the author deliberately chose to de-emphasize the more formal aspects of syntactic structure, in favor of a more comprehensive treatment of the semantic and pragmatic correlates of syntactic structure. With hindsight the author now finds the de-emphasis of the formal properties a somewhat regrettable choice, since it creates the false impression that one could somehow be a functionalist without being at the same time a structuralist. To redress the balance, explicit treatment is given to the core formal properties of syntactic constructions, such as constituency and hierarchy (phrase structure), grammatical relations and relational control, clause union, finiteness and governed constructions.
At the same time, the cognitive and communicative underpinning of grammatical universals are further elucidated and underscored, and the interplay between grammar, cognition and neurology is outlined. Also the relevant typological database is expanded, now exploring in greater precision the bounds of syntactic diversity. Lastly, Syntax treats synchronic-typological diversity more explicitly as the dynamic by-product of diachronic development or grammaticalization. In so doing a parallel is drawn between linguistic diversity and diachrony on the one hand and biological diversity and evolution on the other. It is then suggested that — as in biology — synchronic universals of grammar are exercised and instantiated primarily as constraints on development, and are thus merely the apparent by-products of universal constraints on grammaticalization.
This title replaces Syntax: A functional-typological introduction. Volume II (1991)
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
“This book is certainly an extremely detailed and thorough examination of language from a functional perspective. The advantages, as I see them, are the detailed typological perspective on phenomena and the sheer range of languages considered. One gets a clear overview of the enormous variation that exists in each restricted area. Especially impressive is the fact that the relative markedness of various options is considered, with frequency data from corpora included. This mixture of detailed syntactic description and a look at actual language use is a trend I for one would like to see more of. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to those who want an in-depth reference work on syntax.”
Jonathan White, Högskolan Dalarna, Sweden in Linguist List Vol-12-2787. Wed Nov 7 2001
“Givón’s book is a very useful introduction to syntax. The new edition has gained a lot in clarity, consistency and accurateness of presentation of the material. Although some features of the book are hardly appropriate for a standard textbook, the abundance of illustrative material from languages of diverse structural types, numerous stimulating and intriguing interpretations of linguistic facts, new universals and interesting ideas - an advantage notices by nearly all the reviewers of the first edition - make it well worth reading, both by experienced professional linguists and by any student of syntax or linguistics in general.
Leonid Kulikov, University of Nijmegen, in Journal of Linguistics 40, 2004
“This book is a tour de force from both a heuristic and theoretical standpoint. It could — and probably should — be required reading in every undergraduate linguistics program.”
Edward J. Vajda, Western Washington University, in Language 79(4), 2003.