Meaningful Arrangement takes a fresh look at syntactic analysis through a text based comparison and analysis of Mandarin Chinese and Scottish Gaelic. McDonald examines underlying principles of syntactic analysis and questions commonly held assumptions in a thought-provoking and revealing way. By bringing together syntax and text McDonald is able to address questions that are often ignored such as why one form rather than another are selected in a particular context. By drawing examples extensively from Mandarin, Gaelic as well as English he avoids the pitfall of using only English examples, as if English syntax were the prototype for all syntax. Also, by limiting the range of languages in the study he avoids the other pitfall of referring to so many languages that the reader loses any sense of languages as systems rather than collections of isolated syntactic patterns.
This book will prove to be an invaluable text for students of linguistics at all levels.’
Associate Professor, Department of English and Communication
City University of Hong Kong