Understanding Syntax

Understanding Syntax

3.18 (88 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 3 business days
When will my order arrive?


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.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 350 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 20.57mm | 680g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 5th New edition
  • 3 Line drawings, black and white; 9 Tables, black and white; 3 Illustrations, black and white
  • 036719841X
  • 9780367198411

Table of contents

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
Language index
Subject index
show more

Review quote

"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
show more

About Maggie Tallerman

Maggie Tallerman is Emerita Professor of Linguistics at Newcastle University, UK
show more

Rating details

88 ratings
3.18 out of 5 stars
5 16% (14)
4 17% (15)
3 44% (39)
2 15% (13)
1 8% (7)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X