28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Essential reading for post-Chomskyans!,
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This review is from: Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution (Hardcover)
The Book Description makes some very bold claims about this book, namely that it is a "landmark in linguistics and cognitive science. [..] the most fundamental new thinking in linguistics since Noam Chomsky's Aspects of the Theory of Syntax".
Does Jackendoff live up to these claims? Not entirely, in my view. However, right or wrong, Jackendoff's rich synthesis of some of the distinct traditions of linguistics research is far too interesting to be ignored. For 'post-Chomsky linguisticians', sympathetic to the early Chomsky programme but disillusioned with more recent work, this book is an essential read.
Although linked by a common theme, the book's sections have different orientations. Careful arguments for the overall theme of language involving "multiple parallel generative systems linked by interface components" are accompanied by more speculative thoughts on the evolution of language and proposals for future research.
Although lively and readable, this isn't really a book for someone with no background in generative linguistics (compared to, for example, Pinker's recent "Words and Rules"). But for those with this background, buy and enjoy -- you may want to applaud or protest, but you're unlikely to be indifferent!
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