There are no other beginner textbooks like this one on the market. This book focuses on the creation of clearly specified grammar whose empirical predictions can be evaluated directly.
It is intended for students with excellent formal and mathematical skills but assumes no prior knowledge.
The inadequacies of context-free phrase structure grammar are discussed at the outset of the book, which serves as the impetus for the introduction of feature structures, types, and types constraints as means of expressing linguistic generalizations. Students are guided step by step toward understanding a grammar that addresses the fundamental aspects of English syntax that have been at the center of syntactic theory over the past 25 years, such as complementation, control, "raising constructions," passives, the auxiliary system, and the analysis of long-distance dependency constructions.
The treatment of dialect diversity receives particular focus, especially in relation to African American Vernacular English, which has generated a great deal of interest in terms of how American school systems approach education.