Chomsky's contribution to the study of language has, over the last four decades, been enormous, and has exerted a powerful influence throughout the other cognitive sciences. Language is, arguably, an even more distinctively human characteristic than intelligence, and the thousands of different human languages are, according to Chomsy, cut to the same general pattern. This pattern is determined, he claims, by innate structuring principles which only human beings possess. Chomsky's search for the universal in language has revitalized the question of the relationship between language and mind, and has provided a powerful new tool, generative grammar, for students of language.
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‘Read this first, then read Chomsky.’
John Searle, New York Review of Books
‘John Lyons’ book on Chomsky is simply the best short introduction in the English language. It is within the grasp of an intelligent layman. Anyone who reads it will understand the elements of tranformational grammar, and be able to follow current controversies.’
Leonard Jackson, Times Educational Supplement
‘Lyons’ account is itself a minor modern masterpiece of compression and clarity.’
Alan Ryan, New Society
By John Lyons
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