Generative Theory on Language


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Generative Theory on Language

  1. 2. NOAM CHOMSKY Father of Language A linguist and mathematician Had also made contributions in different fields such as psychology, philosophy, and even computer science Proponent of UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR [language acquisition device – every individual genetically has the ability to acquire language] He has developed his theory on GENERATIVE GRAMMAR which has had a profound influence on linguistics. He also developed what came to be “transformational grammar”
  2. 3. <ul><li>STRUCTURAL PARADIGM: Language is a HABIT learned through imitation and reinforcement </li></ul><ul><li>TRANSFORMATIONAL GRAMMAR </li></ul><ul><li>This was developed by Chomsky during his spare time, almost as a hobby </li></ul><ul><li>MOUTON – a Dutch company that published Chomsky’s work about transformational grammar entitled, “Syntactic Structures” </li></ul><ul><li>SYNTACTIC STRUCTURE </li></ul><ul><li>Every language has a set of basic or kernel sentences </li></ul><ul><li>[simple (one clause), active, declarative, positive sentences] </li></ul>
  3. 4. [All other sentences in the language could be described as reflecting systematic changes or transformations of the structure underlying one of these basic sentences.] a. Chris won the fellowship. b. The fellowship was won by Chris. c. Did Chris win the fellowship? d. Chris did not win the fellowship. e. Wasn’t the fellowship won by Chris? According to Chomsky, it is only sentence a that can be considered as a kernel sentence as it is the only that follows the criteria of what a basic sentence is. Sentences b to e, on the other hand went through various transformations already.
  4. 5. <ul><li>Under this analysis, it can be concluded that sentences b to e all have the same basic structure but have additionally undergone one or more transformations. </li></ul><ul><li>Chris won the fellowship. </li></ul><ul><li>Chris won the fellowship. + Passive Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Chris won the fellowship. + Question Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Chris won the fellowship. + Negative Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Chris won the fellowship. + Passive + Question + Negative </li></ul><ul><li>Observations: </li></ul><ul><li>These are different sentences. </li></ul><ul><li>Then again, they are the same on a more abstract level: same agent or doer of action [Chris], same action [won], and the same patient or the thing affected by the action [fellowship] </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>The voters won’t reelect the president. </li></ul><ul><li>The voters will reelect the president. </li></ul><ul><li>Will the voters reelect the president? </li></ul><ul><li>Chomsky’s conception of language is that it is as a system of INTERACTING rules that generate structures </li></ul><ul><li>Structuralist Tenet maintains that a language is a superficial habit. </li></ul><ul><li>Structuralist View </li></ul><ul><li>Children acquiring language produce novel forms. </li></ul><ul><li>Children don’t acquire the most frequent items first. </li></ul><ul><li>Humans are able to produce and interpret sentences they have never seen or heard before. </li></ul>
  6. 7. The rules are finite but the structures are generally infinite. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax: articulates what has to be known as the standard theory. The mind was not only a reasonable object of study in linguistics, but really the most interesting object of study. Linguistic Competence: the unconscious knowledge that underlies a speaker’s ability to produce sentences Linguistic Performance: the actual production of those sentences.
  7. 8. Reflexive Rule: whenever two NPs occur together in a simple sentence, the second one manifested as a compatible reflexive pronoun. Imperative Rule: imperative sentences have a covert you subject which triggers for the Reflexive Rule. you watch out for you REFL: you – watch out – for yourself IMP: 0 – watch out – for yourself YOU- YOURSELF
  8. 9. <ul><li>PHRASE STRUCTURE GRAMMAR </li></ul><ul><li>Five Phrase Types </li></ul><ul><li>Sentence [S] </li></ul><ul><li>Noun Phrase [NP] </li></ul><ul><li>Verb Phrase [VP] </li></ul><ul><li>Prepositional Phrase [PP] </li></ul><ul><li>Adjective Phrase [AP] </li></ul><ul><li>SENTENCES </li></ul><ul><li>Ice floats. </li></ul><ul><li>*Floats ice. </li></ul><ul><li>*Ice. </li></ul><ul><li>*Floats. </li></ul>
  9. 10. PS Rule: All grammatical kernel sentences in English consist of an NP followed by a VP. [definition of a sentence] S: NP - VP NOUN PHRASES children the children children the* Determiner [D]: cover term for articles, demonstratives, possessives, and quantifiers Rule: If an NP contains a D, then it must precede the N. NP: (D) - N
  10. 11. VERB PHRASES Someone ate. Someone ate cake. Someone ate in the kitchen. *Someone ate in the kitchen cake. Rule: All grammatical VPs in English consist of a V followed by an optional NP followed by an optional PP. VP: V VP: V – NP VP: V – PP VP: V – NP – PP
  11. 12. PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES at home *home at Rule: Within a PP, the preposition precede the NP PP: P – NP Note: Each of the rules constitutes a definition of a particular phrase type. Taken together, these rules constitute a PS grammar of English.
  12. 13. TRANSFORMATIONS John has driven the car. The car has been driven by John. Has John driven the car? John has not driven the car. PS Grammar generates kernel sentences Transformations operate on kernel sentences to generate non-kernel sentences
  13. 14. <ul><li>AFFIX HOPPING </li></ul><ul><li>English has three auxiliary verbs [AUX] that can occur together in the same sentence: the modals [M], forms of have, and forms of be. </li></ul><ul><li>He drives. He will have driven. </li></ul><ul><li>He will drive. He will be driving. </li></ul><ul><li>He has driven. He has been driving. </li></ul><ul><li>He is driving. He will have been driving. </li></ul><ul><li>modals, if present, appears first </li></ul><ul><li>the form of be, if present, occurs last </li></ul><ul><li>the form of have, if present, occurs last </li></ul>
  14. 15. <ul><li>A modal is followed by an uninflected verb form. </li></ul><ul><li>Aux have is followed by a past participle (en) verb form </li></ul><ul><li>Aux be is followed by a present participle (ing) verb form </li></ul><ul><li>Affix Hopping: a type of transformation developed by Chomsky wherein we get affixes like en and ing attached to a verb </li></ul><ul><li>AFFIX : V-form – V-form + AFFIX </li></ul><ul><li>Rule: Anytime an affix is immediately followed by a verb-form, attach the affix to the right of the verb form </li></ul><ul><li>Derivation: Its purpose is to show the relationship between the underlying structure of a sentence and its surface structure. </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>A derivation is basically a history of a sentence, described in terms of PS rules and transformations. </li></ul><ul><li>OTHER FORMS OF TRANSFORMATIONS </li></ul><ul><li>INDIRECT OBJECT MOVEMENT </li></ul><ul><li>PASSIVE </li></ul><ul><li>INTERACTION OF INDIRECT OBJECT MOVEMENT AND PASSIVE </li></ul><ul><li>QUESTION </li></ul><ul><li>NEGATIVE </li></ul><ul><li>AUXILIARY DO </li></ul>