When I peruse this site and others, I find references to apparent operations that change either one surface structure to another (as with passivization) or a deep structure to a surface structure (as with raising).

Is the notion of transformations still current among generative linguists?

If not, how do generative grammarians generally explain the linguistic data formerly explained by transformations?

If so, where can I find a list of transformations currently acknowledged by generative grammarians?

Also if so, has the number of acknowledged transformations decreased over time?

  • 1
    Try this one out and then you tell me.
    – jlawler
    Mar 23 '13 at 21:59
  • 2
    That is a fantastic list, and one I've been wanting to see for ages.
    – jogloran
    Mar 24 '13 at 12:58
  • 1
    Anyone seriously interested in transformations should consult Jim McCawley's The Syntactic Phenomena of English, as well as Haj Ross's papers, and really serious syntacticians will appreciate Squibnet.
    – jlawler
    Mar 24 '13 at 14:49

I think the notion of transformation still exists for most generative grammarians, although the use of the exact term transformation has fallen out of favor. One tends to break transformations down into their component procedures. One acknowledges mechanisms such as move or copy or merge to describe and explain how various grammatical structures are related to and derived from each other. The underlying idea remains the same, however, although the description of the transformations has become much more exact than it was in the early days of Transformational Grammar.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.