Questions tagged [generative-grammar]

A theory usually associated with Noam Chomsky that accounts for a language's grammar by a system of rules that are able to generate all the possible grammatical expressions in that language. In its original sense, "generative" does not necessarily mean "production-focussed", although it has often been understood as such. Generativists study mostly syntax, but also other aspects of linguistic structure such as morphology, phonology and semantics.

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313 views

Is there a linguistic term for “grammatically well-formed word salad”?

The accepted answer to this question quoted Chomsky's (1955) famous “sentence” Colorless green ideas sleep furiously and an earlier example from Tesnière (1940s), which translates to English as The ...
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Are there generative theories of grammar with privative features outside of phonology?

By "generative grammar", I take the widest interpretation and do not mean "Chomsky's theory of syntax today", thus HPSG and LFG would be instances of GG(broad). Phonology has a ...
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To what extent was Chomsky influenced by Tesnière?

Kind of a question about the meta-history of linguistics as a discipline. Chomsky released 'Syntactic Structures' in the US in 1957; Tesnière released Éléments de syntaxe structurale posthumously ...
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What is a verb constellation?

I am reading a paper "Aspectual Categories in Navajo" and the author refers to something called a "verb constellation:" Verb constellations are associated with the situation types ...
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100 views

Principles and Parameters vs. Government and Binding

I'm a little confused about the difference between P&P and GB. This Wikipedia article suggests that they are the same as grammar frameworks, from what I understood: Principles and parameters as a ...
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Resultative secondary predicate

In the sentence 'John entered the room angry', can 'angry' be considered a resultative predicate? This sentence has the same construction as 'John painted the door green', but while 'green' describes ...
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What limitations of generative grammar was Lakoff referring to?

In his keynote address in 2015, George Lakoff said the following (at 22:10) The whole idea of generative grammar fell apart. There were things that you could not do with it. Even if it was ...
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Why is the subject outside the VP in most theories of syntax?

I'm trying to understand why in most theories of syntax, the subject of a sentence is the sister of the verb, and not the child eg: S -> NP VP instead of VP -> NP V (NP...) The latter feels more ...
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Is it a defining feature of generative grammar that the object is in the VP?

According to Wikipedia, generative grammar is distinguished by its putting the object of a sentence inside a VP. How reasonable is this assumption?
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Can Studying Generative Grammar Help Someone Understand the Word Order of a Language?

Let's say for example that someone wanted to learn French. Would studying French's generative grammar help this person learn French word order? Also, have there been any studies that teach L2 ...
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VSO languages and generative grammar

I'm wondering how generative grammar handles VSO languages It seems to me that the subject splits up the verb phrase, and so you're going to have to have some sort of movement going on and a different ...
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Is “of the kitten” in “the paw of the kitten” a complement to the NP or an adjunct to the DP?

I'm drawing a tree for "the paw of the kitten" (from chapter 7 of Andrew Carnie's Syntax: A Generative Introduction). This chapter is "extending X-bar theory", so please keep that ...
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Formal, mathematically-minded introduction to generative grammar?

I'm looking for a formal, mathematically-minded introduction to contemporary generative grammar theory, where all the concepts, such as dominance, c-command, government, etc. are defined formally in ...
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According to the Elsewhere Principle, can a syntactic rule block a morphological one, or a morphological rule a phonological one?

I read up on the Elsewhere Principle. In the linked article two examples are given: The syntactic comparative "more + adjective" can be overruled by the morphological comparative "adjective+er" for (...
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56 views

How can we explain “head feature” of a phrase? [closed]

For example, how can we explain the head feature of an adjective phrase?
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Derivation of Passive according to Principles and Parameters (Jaeggli)

I've been trying to wrap my head around this for hours, but I am simply stuck. Could somebody please kindly explain this passage? I am struggling in particular with the part in bold. The text is from ...
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Binding Puzzle in English Generative Syntax!

Consider the following sentences: (1) Anna believes [ IP herself to be a hero] ] (2) Anna wants [ IP him to leave] ] (3) *Anna wants [ IP herself to leave ] ] (1) is an example of Exceptional Case ...
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Critics and arguments against the generative syntax theories?

The Generative approach on syntax is very elegant, useful and very complete as far as I can see. I think that, as all theories have, there must have some critics on it. But I don't know where to find ...
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What is the difference between generative grammar and transformation grammar?

If we put it in a simple way, can we say generative grammar is about tree diagram, and transformation grammar is how sentences can be interpreted in another way?
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The Meaning <=> Text Theory (MTT)

I have recently read about "The Meaning <=> Text Theory" approach to syntax and would like to know more about it. Specifically, What are the main differences between this theory and the phrase ...
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Do Modern Grammar Theories fall short in explaining Free Word Order?

Here's my childish challenge to generative grammar: Could anyone give me an analysis of Russian sentence Мама мыла раму. (Mom washed the (window) frame.) from the point of view of modern grammar ...
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If our requirement says that the only thing that isn’t a phrase in an NP is the N itself, why a problem?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 209. Pls see red underline. I don't see what is problem?
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If the that-trace effect is not learnable and thus must be biologically built in, how can speakers of French or Irish violate it?

Andrew Carnie. Syntax, A Generative Introduction (3 ed, 2012). p 25. Consider the fourth sentence in the paradigm in (28). This sentence is the same as (28c) but with a that: d) *Who do you ...
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A counter-example to the parsing rule model?

The idea that we have some strict "correct" parsing rules which we use to parse sentences seems a bit wrong to me. Here's why. Consider these sentences: Yesterday I went to the beach. I, yesterday, ...
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What are the limitations of CCGs?

I've read that context free grammar (CFG) has a wide variety of natural language phenomena that it can't model, such as ellipsis I gave Tom a cake, and John an hamburger And that combinatory ...
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( New formulation) Are parts of speech syntactic categories? ( A question on generative grammer)

I only have a rudimentary ( or even less than rudimentary) knowledge of generative grammar. But what strikes me is that the sentence formation rules are coinded using parts of speech. For example ( ...
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Grammar induction from grammaticality rules

Let's have formalisation of grammaticality judgments in some deduction system. Is it possible to learn/induce grammar from rules that govern grammaticality judgments? Is there theory, that connects ...
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Can a TG generate sentences which a CFG cannot generate?

TG is transformational grammar. CFG is context free grammar. A TG includes a CFG, and if you remove the transformations from a TG, what is left is a CFG, at least in my understanding of classical TG ...
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What is the difference between trace and PRO?

Is it like the trace is the result of movement and has to be in the chain with the head, while PRO is just a null duplication taken the position but with no phonetic realization?
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Problem Set Solutions to 'Semantics in Generative Grammar' (Heim & Kratzer)?

I'm working through Heim and Kratzer's 1998 textbook 'semantics in generative grammar' (Blackwell), which I understand is fairly standard for university level courses on semantics, but I can't find ...
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Question on move operation

I'm learning about minimalism at the moment. I'm not sure if I understand the move operation. I think I understand that in English the move operation takes place when you want to formulate a question....
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What would be the obstacles to creating a language composed of all the words of all the human languages existing today? [closed]

So this is an question I haven't tried to answer/solve too much before posting, mainly because it's more of a game and exercise in creativity and wanted to have many opinions. So clearly this task of ...
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DP acting as AdvP?

Is it possible for a DP like "three times" to act as an AdvP ("He read the book three times.")? How would such a constituency tree look like? How does the DP modify the verb? Conversely, would the ...
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What is this method of drawing syntax trees?

I'm taking a course in generative grammar and I've reached a point where I don't know what's happening because I missed one class. Anyway, last time my tutor drew tree diagrams that I found a bit ...
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350 views

Phonology: Exemplars vs. Abstract Phoneme Theory

I have come across an essay title asking us to critique the evidence of language being processed as either “abstract phonemes” or “surface exemplars”. (Specifically in phonology) Is this a rewording ...
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Minimalism - a question about a property of merge operation

Does anyone know what would it mean that the merge operation is asymmetrical? Would this mean that the order of merged objects is important?
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Why is *“Where did you move from Paris to?” ungrammatical?

If I'm not mistaken *"Where did you move from Paris to?", while "Where did you move to from Paris?" as well as both "You moved from Paris to London" and "You moved to London from Paris"(at least with ...
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Which is the most accepted case theory from a generative syntax perspective?

I've read about different theories but now I'm kind of confused between the different theories and the differences between structural case, non-structural, lexical/morphological case, inherent case, ...
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How do generativists account for apparent diachronic processes that cause errors in linguistic performance to become cemented as competence?

Many diachronic processes of language change appear to derive from synchronic errors in linguistic performance. How do generativists account for this if performance and competence are separate? If ...
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Does a generative grammar of the English language exist?

Is there some database on the internet that contains generative grammar of the English language / or any natural language? I know there are many artificial languages like EBNF those can be formalized ...
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Specification of Dependency Grammar

My understanding is that, while natural languages aren't completely context-free, you can get a good approximation of a specification of English in Backus-Naur form, in that if you look at a given ...
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Is either of these meanings of the word “sentence” more conventional?

The Wikipedia article on Generative Grammar states: Generative grammar is a linguistic theory that regards grammar as a system of rules that generates exactly those combinations of words that ...
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Design Features of Human Language and their role in Chomskyan Linguistics [closed]

Why haven't I come across any references to the DF in literature on GG? Given that the main goal of the approach lies in detecting the properties Language exhibit, what role do such long known traits ...
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X-bar tree of the sentence “Why would she not have actually been giving him back the present yesterday?”

I'm having trouble with a particular x bar tree. We're mostly using Liliane Haegeman & Jacqueline Guéron's "English Grammar – A Generative Perspective" as our bible, with some adjustments, e.g. DP'...
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Why didn’t generative grammarians value linguistic data from native languages?

As I read through my generative-oriented textbooks I see scant reference to Amerindian languages. Sure, there is some reference to African and Asian languages (especially with tonal stuff), but very ...
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Are there any empirical arguments for eliminating 'Deep Structure' in Minimalist Syntax?

For reasons of Economy & Parsimony, The Minimalist Program discards Deep Structure (DS) because it’s not a linguistic level. The main reasons for eliminating DS were based on ‘conceptual grounds’ (...
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Constituent borders

Let us imagine there to exist, for instance, a DP. We always observe the only head D on the left or the right of the phrase (depending upon the direction of branching). But every constituent naturally ...
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What is the difference between successive-cyclic wh-movement and long-distance wh-movement?

I am concerned with movement spanning the barrier between two clauses, such as: What did John say [CP that Mary will buy __]? or What did John say [CP will Mary buy __]? //with the same meaning as ...
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Making Sense of Nonsense: [Corner/Quine] Quotes!

Currently working on a problem set where we are using quine quotes (corner quotes) and normal quotes to distinguish use and mention. In class I felt that examples were much simpler, both of these ...
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Is generative grammar a theory or an approach?

I am trying to understand the first sentence of Wikipedia's page on generative grammar: Generative grammar is a linguistic theory that regards grammar as a system of rules that generates exactly ...