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Transformational Grammar of English

Transformational Grammar of English



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Published by: orangpintar on Jul 30, 2009
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transformational grammar
, or 
transformational-generative grammar
), is agenerative grammar , especially of anatural language, that has been developed in a Chomskyan tradition. Additionally, transformational grammar is the Chomskyan tradition thatgives rise to specific transformational grammars. Much current research in transformationalgrammar is inspired by Chomsky'sMinimalist Program.The aims of Transformational-Generative Grammar (TG for short) are quite differentfrom those of structural linguistics. Instead of attending to a corpus and methods of analysis, TGfocuses attention on the fact that all speakers of a natural language are able to form a newsentences and understand utterances they have never heard before. In other words, knowing alanguage is not merely a matter of storing in one’s head a long list of words or sentences, but being able to produce sentences not heard before. TG assumes that the basis of this ability isknowledge of what may be called a grammar.The Grammar of a language, therefore, consists of the rules (the formulas) that willgenerate sentences grammatically acceptable to native speakers. The aim of the TG is toformulate these rules as precisely as possible, so that they generate all the possible sentences of the language and none of the impossible ones.
In the 1960s, Chomsky introduced two central ideas relevant to the construction andevaluation of grammatical theories. The first was the distinction between
Chomsky noted the obvious fact that people, when speaking in the real world, oftenmake linguistic errors (e.g. starting a sentence and then abandoning it midway through). Heargued that these errors in linguistic performance were irrelevant to the study of linguistic
TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR_Task.rtf arranged by Ach. Philip, S.Pd 
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
descriptive adequacy
and those which went further and achieved
explanatory adequacy
. 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.
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 
when asked, we are still able to judge the difference between those utterances that live up to therules of English and those that do not. Although we are probably not consciously aware of any of these rules, our unconscious mastery of them is revealed in our linguistic competence.?
In 1957, Noam Chomskypublished
, in which he developed the ideathat each sentence in a language has two levels of representation — adeep structureand asurface  structure.The deep structure represented the coresemantic relationsof a sentence, and was mapped on to the surface structure (which followed the phonologicalform of the sentence veryclosely) via
. Chomsky believed that there would be considerable similarities between languages' deep structures, and that these structures would reveal properties, common toall languages, which were concealed by their surface structures. However, this was perhaps notthe central motivation for introducing deep structure. Transformations had been proposed prior tothe development of deep structure as a means of increasing the mathematical and descriptive power of Context-free grammars.Similarly, deep structure was devised largely for technical reasons relating to earlysemantic theory. Chomsky emphasizes the importance of modern formalmathematical devices in the development of grammatical theory:
 But the fundamental reason for [the] inadequacy of traditional grammars is a moretechnical one. Although it was well understood that linguistic processes are in some sense "creative", the technical devices for expressing a system of recursive processeswere simply not available until much more recently. In fact, a real understanding of how a language can (in Humboldt 's words) "make infinite use of finite means" hasdeveloped only within the last thirty years, in the course of studies in the foundationsof mathematics.
 Aspects of the Theory of Syntax
, p. 8)Consider the following sentence pairs:
"The cat chased the mouse."
"The mouse was chased by the cat."
"Where did John drive?"
"John drove (where)."According to the transformational grammar, there is an abstract level of representationthat underlies the syntactical structures of each pair member. For instance, the forms first and
TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR_Task.rtf arranged by Ach. Philip, S.Pd 

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