competence (the knowledge that allows people to construct and understand grammaticalsentences). Consequently, the linguist can study an idealised version of language, greatlysimplifying linguistic analysis (see the "Grammaticalness" section below). The second idearelated directly to the evaluation of theories of grammar. Chomsky made a distinction betweengrammars which achieved
and those which went further and achieved
. A descriptively adequate grammar for a particular language defines the(infinite) set of grammatical sentences in that language; that is, it describes the language in itsentirety. A grammar which achieves explanatory adequacy has the additional property that itgives an insight into the underlying linguistic structures in the human mind; that is, it does notmerely describe the grammar of a language, but makes predictions about how linguisticknowledge ismentally represented. For Chomsky, the nature of such mental representations islargely innate, so if a grammatical theory has explanatory adequacy it must be able to explain thevarious grammatical nuances of the languages of the world as relatively minor variations in theuniversal pattern of human language. Chomsky argued that, even though linguists were still along way from constructing descriptively adequate grammars, progress in terms of descriptiveadequacy would only come if linguists held explanatory adequacy as their goal. In other words,real insight into the structure of individual languages could only be gained through thecomparative study of a wide range of languages, on the assumption that they are all cut from thesame cloth.
C. COMPETENCE AND PERFORMANCE DISTINCTION
Chomsky makes a distinction between
When he speaks of competence he refers to the speaker’s implicit knowledge of his language (his knowledge of therules). By performance he means the actual use of language in concrete situations. A person’sactual utterances may be ungrammatical or incomplete because he is tired or excited or not paying full attention. The problem for the linguist is to describe the language competence of thespeaker by observing his performance. The linguist is interested in competence because he isinterested in what is possible in the whole language.Linguistic competence is not always reflected in actual speech. Our linguistic performance is peppered with 'ums' and 'ahs', false starts and sentence fragments. Nevertheless,
TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR_Task.rtf arranged by Ach. Philip, S.Pd