I read this post and an answer in it says that vocabulary and grammar aren't actually discrete, I have the following questions:

  1. Are they different but not distinct?
  2. Could someone explain how they aren't distinct if each focuses on different things.

1 Answer 1


The unfortunate answer is there really isn't a consensus on this. Some linguists posit a strong distinction between "lexicon" and "grammar" with the two being stored separately in the brain, functioning separately in the mental processes, and so on. Others blur that distinction and say that many things that were once considered "grammar" are actually part of the "lexicon" instead. (These tend to be known as lexicalist theories.)

In non-lexicalist syntax, for example, you might have a rule that says "you can put a noun phrase after a transitive verb to make a verb phrase". That would be grammar, separate from the lexicon. In lexicalist syntax, on the other hand, you might not have a rule like that; instead, a transitive verb like "grab" contains a little note saying "if you put a noun phrase after me, you get a verb phrase". That's part of the lexicon, then, since it's just part of the data for the word "grab".

  • So are there rules that allow us to determine wether a scentence belongs to the language or not(I mean there must be to allow a person to determine so) regardless of wether those rules are actually grammar or part of the lexicon
    – John greg
    Commented May 26 at 16:55
  • @Johngreg There are definitely rules that determine if something is grammatical or not; the question is more, what's the nature of those rules?
    – Draconis
    Commented May 26 at 17:07
  • Thanks for your answer . My reputation on this site isn't high enough so I can't upvote or accept and answer
    – John greg
    Commented May 26 at 17:20
  • 1
    @Johngreg You should always be able to accept an answer by clicking the checkmark, even if you can't vote yet!
    – Draconis
    Commented May 26 at 17:29

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