transformational-generative grammar


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Related to transformational-generative grammar: Transformational linguistics

transformational-generative grammar,

linguistic theory associated with Noam ChomskyChomsky, Noam
, 1928–, educator and linguist, b. Philadelphia. Chomsky, who has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1955, developed a theory of transformational (sometimes called generative or transformational-generative) grammar that revolutionized
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, particularly with his Syntactic Structures (1957), and with Chomsky's teacher Zellig Harris. Generative grammar attempts to define rules that can generate the infinite number of grammatical (well-formed) sentences possible in a language. It starts not from a behaviorist analysis of minimal sounds but from a rationalist assumption that a deep structure underlies a language, and that a similar deep structure underlies all languages. Transformational grammar seeks to identify rules (transformations) that govern relations between parts of a sentence, on the assumption that beneath such aspects as word order a fundamental structure exists. Transformational and generative grammar together were the starting point for the tremendous growth in linguisticslinguistics,
scientific study of language, covering the structure (morphology and syntax; see grammar), sounds (phonology), and meaning (semantics), as well as the history of the relations of languages to each other and the cultural place of language in human behavior.
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 studies since the 1950s.
References in periodicals archive ?
Early versions of Transformational-Generative Grammar can be seen as attempts at reconstructing the organization of natural languages in terms of purely structural notions such as: constituency, categorization, linear order, and transformation.
Controversial at first, attacked by the entrenched litcrit establishment, it became more theoretically sophisticated and diverse as it engaged with changes in the dominant models of linguistic theory: a brief liaison with transformational-generative grammar, a longer relationship with the functional grammar of M.

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