A Monumental Piece of Scholarship

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(3), 176–177. Reviews the books, Semantics, Vol. 1 by John Lyons (1977); and Semantics, Vol. 2 by John Lyons (1977). The two volumes are intended to be as neutral as possible with respect to alternative theories of grammar. As the author points out, each volume is relatively self-contained. Seven chapters are devoted to the setting of semantics and two chapters are devoted to the investigation of structural lexicography. Three chapters are devoted to the study of the relation of semantics to grammar, and five chapters to specific topics in linguistic semantics, including the nature of the lexicon, stylistic variation, deixis, temporal reference, speech acts, and modality. Two chapters, one on semantic fields and the other on sense relations among words are particularly outstanding. These books are clearly designed to be used. There are some difficulties in reconciling the author's generally perceptive semantic analyses with a suitably restrictive syntactic analysis. However, these difficulties should not prevent anyone from enjoying and profiting from this work. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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