transformational grammar

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transformational grammar

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Transformational Grammar


(1) A variant of generative grammar, which is an explicit description of a large number of grammatically correct sentences of a language that makes it possible to identify sentences which are correct in the given language. Transformational grammar is distinct from other types of generative grammar in that it distinguishes between the deep structure of a sentence, which determines the sentence’s semantic interpretation, and the surface structure, which determines the sentence’s phonetic character. In transformational grammar, syntax has two components: the base component, or phrase structure component, which consists of rules governing the deep structures of a language, and the transformation component, which converts deep structures into corresponding surface structures.

(2) A linguistic theory also known as transformational-generative grammar. It arose in the 1950’s and considers the most important task of descriptive linguistics to be the construction of a transformational grammar. The theory was founded by the American linguist N. Chomsky; other adherents have included R. Lees, C. Fillmore, E. Klima, E. Bach, J. Katz, J. Fodor, M. Bierwisch, and R. Rüzicka.

In the late 1960’s the concept of deep structure was reexamined owing to a growing need to relate syntactic description with meaning. Transformational-generative grammar divided into two schools. The first school, headed by R. Jackendoff and R. Dougherty, was that of interpretive semantics. It retained the concept of deep structure but permitted rules of semantic interpretation that use information other than the information contained in the deep structure. The second school, that of generative semantics, rejected the concept of deep structure and developed rules for generating the sentences of a language directly from their semantic representations. The main representatives of this school are G. Lakoff, J. McCawley, J. Ross, and P. Postal.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This latter view reflects the idea that E-language is the basis on which we come up with a model of I-language. A second important insight of Jackendoff's seminal work is the detailed discussion of the notion of Parallel Architecture: the grammar specifies the systematic relationship between the form and the meaning of linguistic expressions.
Let me now give some examples of the dialogic relationship between I-language and E-language in the domain of morphology.
The current study set out to identify Chomsky's views on our having knowledge of and using rules of language, his linguistic naturalism, his commitment to the internalism of I-language, and his "parameter setting" theory of language acquisition.
The assertiveness levels of the participants according to using I-language and evaluation of self-image were analyzed by ANOVA and are given in Table 1.
A statistically significant difference was found in assertiveness means of the participants according to their usage of I-language. According to Scheffe analysis, participants who used I-language in their interpersonal relationships had higher assertiveness levels than did those who did not use this language.
At the heart of Chomsky's linguistics is the notion of I-language. Chomsky's computationalist commitment entails that the linguistic symbols which feature in descriptions of our knowledge of language have causal properties (they underlie any explanation of the linguistic knowledge and intuitions of native speakers).
Thus, the idea that I-Language computes randomly selected LI's "autonomously," bottom up, and largely in vain at that, is simply unacceptable to common sense.
To directly capture the expressive function that I-Language obviously performs, grammatical architecture must be either "semantocentric," as in Generative Semantics, Levelt (1989), and the "functionalist" models (e.g.
I suggest that the language of thought, I-language, be reconceived as the syntactic node structure and as the capacities to recognize the semantic values (for example, the capacity to apprehend or comprehend Mount Everest).
This divergence between the mapping generated by the I-language and that provided by the parser is an example of the mismatch which, according to Franks, threatens the explanatory power of Chomskyan linguistics.
The distinction between a grammar or I-language and a parser yields a way of capturing the difference between Franks' conception of linguistic theory and that of Chomsky.
The I-language consists of a computational procedure and a lexicon.