Transformational – Generative Grammar
Generative Grammar refers to a particular approach to the study of syntax. A generative grammar of a language attempts to give a set of rules that will correctly predict which combinations of words will form grammatical sentences. In most approaches to generative grammar, the rules will also predict the morphology of a sentence. From the transformational method there was only one step to the creation of a new type of grammar, viz. transformational-generative grammar. This method and the method of ICs had paved the way for the emergence of a grammar that could account for the generation of the sentence. Unlike the structural grammarian, the transformational-generative grammarian is not content with describing what he finds in a corpus of sentences collected from native speakers. He is interested in possible sentences, i.e. the speaker’s-hearer’s knowledge of a language ( competence ), rather than in his actual use of it ( performance). There are two types of transformational-generative grammar: 1) the Harris– Chomsky grammar
2) the Chomsky grammar.
The first type of transformational-generative grammar (TG) was developed by Harris (1951) in concert with his pupil Chomsky, in the 1950s. By the end of the decade their paths had separated. But first let us discuss the model of TG as worked out by Harris in association with Chomsky. According to this model, a language consists of a limited number of kernel sentences (i.e. structurally the most simple sentences), and their transforms, i.e. structures derived from them. Kernel sentences are generated by the use of the IC model. The set of rules showing how a sentence is generated is called rewrite rules , or rewriting rules . Harris gives the following list of kernels: 1) The team went there; 2) We’ll take it ; 3) The teacher looked at him; 4) He’s an architect. Consider the kernel sentence The man hit the ball. This sentence is generated by the application of the...
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