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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What are some alternatives to Chomskian generative grammar?

What are the other common approaches to study syntax? Note: the source is an example question from the on-topic question list in Area51.
Louis Rhys's user avatar
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What does "generative" mean? Can a linguistic theory be non-generative?

If we ignore the political distinction "theories of those who generally agree with Chomsky" vs "theories of those who generally disagree with him" (which is better described by "Chomskian" vs "non-...
michau's user avatar
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Could anyone give examples of context-sensitive sentences that cannot be generated by context-free rules?

Could anyone give examples of context-sensitive sentences that cannot be generated by context-free rules? To clarify, they are generated by rules including at least one that is in the form αβγ→αψγ, α,...
XL _At_Here_There's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
609 views

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 ...
nathan's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
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What's the difference between structural and generative linguistics?

It seems to me that generative linguistics presupposes the structuralist tradition. Are there any major differences between these two methods?
RECURSIVE FARTS's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
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Why is binarity emphasized so much in linguistics?

I'm an aspiring linguistics student, not a professional, so my thinking may be misguided or elementary. In my personal research about linguistics, I have discovered many important theories and ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
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Limits on center-embedding in English

Consider the following extremely melodramatic story fragment (the sentences in the story, and its melodramatic character, set up context and motivation for the brain to parse an otherwise hard-to-...
Ron Maimon's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
206 views

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 ...
Khove's user avatar
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3 answers
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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 ...
SAH's user avatar
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5 votes
4 answers
166 views

How can merge produce grammatical strings if mathematical sets do not have an order?

Merge takes two elements and combines them into a set. Say it takes a DP "Luke" and a V "run". We can then define a VP by going merge(DP,V) = {DP,V} "Luke run". But since sets are un-ordered, {DP,V} = ...
RECURSIVE FARTS's user avatar
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1 answer
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What is the best introduction to Chomskyan linguistics?

Although my main interest is historical lingustics, I would also like to get a hint of the modern studies of syntax and generative grammar, and as far as I know, Chomsky is currently the most ...
czypsu's user avatar
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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 ...
John Bentin's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
299 views

Syntax of exceptives (generative syntax)

How would you analyse the following sentence (in generative syntax): No one but John attended the meeting? (an example is taken from von Fintel's 1993 paper on exceptive constructions). I'm ...
Alex B.'s user avatar
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6 answers
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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 ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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3 answers
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What is the relation between formal grammar and generative grammar?

I am having trouble figuring out the relation between formal grammar and generative grammar. Is one a superclass of another, are they distinct, or are they identical? So far I've checked my notes, ...
Ceasar's user avatar
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1 answer
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Acceptability and grammaticality

My understanding of acceptability and grammaticality is this: As someone who is able to communicate in a given language I find given sentences that I hear or read more or less acceptable (in terms of ...
Hans-Peter Stricker's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
4k views

if vs. whether (complementizer)

I'm studying syntax with 'Introduction to government and binding theory' by Haegeman by myself and I encountered something I don't understand. According to PRO theorem, PRO must be ungoverned. And ...
Jeeyoung Jeon's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
383 views

Why does Chomsky consider recursion in language to be a "narrow" ability unique to humans?

There is a well-known classification of four varieties of grammars, differing in complexity, from unlimited to regular. These grammars correspond to four classes of automata in computer science: ...
Wasabi Kurosawa's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
729 views

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?
Jenna Liu's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
324 views

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 ...
SpaceAndTime's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
369 views

Syntax-semantics interface

In books on generative syntax it is often said that LF itself becomes an input to the so-called syntax-semantics interface to satisfy some conditions (e.g. to get rid of uninterpretable values). But ...
syntaxfairy's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
423 views

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 ...
Keelan's user avatar
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2 answers
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Introduction to Strict Cyclicity

Does anyone have any good references for an introduction to the theory of strict cyclicity within Generative Phonology?
Rebecca's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
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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 ...
Evan Aad's user avatar
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4 votes
0 answers
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Types of adjuncts - What can be adjoined to what and why?

In generative grammar, more specifically in GB and Minimalism, what are the possible types of adjuncts we can have and to which other categories can they be adjoined. E.g.: the man [next to him] many ...
user3201's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
129 views

quantifiers adjoining a verb phrase?

I am working through Heim and Kratzer textbook 'Semantics in generative grammar' and there is a question in it that keeps puzzling me (pp.220); they give an example of a sentence which is supposed ...
johanneshshf's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
261 views

Resources to Chomsky's Universal Grammar

I need a list of resources to Chomsky's theory of universal grammar and generative grammar that help me from zero to recent-research level [I myself do formal mathematical logic and am not totally ...
Homologician's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

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 ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
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3 votes
5 answers
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How to Handle Conjunctions in Generative Syntax Tree without Abandoning Nontangling Condition

A few days ago, we had a conference on multidomination and I firstly saw an andP there. The solution was to simply abandon the conditions of well-formed phrase markers below: Single Mother Condition (...
Eray Erdin's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
225 views

What is HMC in generative grammar?

I'm currently reading a Ph.D. thesis concerning the structure of English adjectives. These generative trees are used to illustrate the structure of the phrase "someone tall". The author ...
Rongrong's user avatar
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2 answers
285 views

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 ...
Greg Lee's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
122 views

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 ...
ubadub's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Auxiliaries in generative grammar

In a course of introduction to Generative Grammar, my teacher told that auxiliary (Aux in the tree diagram) is the element that comes before the subject (NP) in an interrogative sentence. But I found ...
Kohki Mametani's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
219 views

What grammar generate this sequence

I need some little help in connection with linguistics. My first question is: Is there any fast way to figure out grammar if I have sequence of symbols, or do I have to guess? My second question ...
Hadson's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
822 views

What is the current status of (systemic) functional grammar/linguistics

I'm sorry if my questions may sound rudimentary, so please bear with me. :-) I'm thinking of delving deeper into functional grammar/linguistics (most probably systemic in particular), perhaps with ...
nnad's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
457 views

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, ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
449 views

Unaccusative verbs, EPP and Case Filter

I'm studying Government and Binding Theory and have a question about unaccusative verbs. As I understood, Unaccusative verbs (1) cannot assign Accusative Case and (2) lack external argument, i.e. ...
Jeeyoung Jeon's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
933 views

Introduction in generative grammar

My name is Antonio, and I'm an undergraduate student at one of the many colleges that are focusing on language. I'm mainly studying the English language, and this is my first year of studying concepts ...
Antonio Nanu's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
174 views

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 ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
333 views

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 ...
Dominik's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
404 views

Syntax presupposed by Heim and Kratzer

Heim and Kratzer's "Semantics in Generative Grammar", bases its semantics on some version of transformational syntax. However, it is remarkably inexplicit about formalising the syntax it presupposes ...
user65526's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
125 views

Inherently reflexive verbs

What is the status of herself in the following sentence? Mary behaved herself during the class. Is herself an internal argument? I'm a bit confused.
Buffoon's user avatar
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0 answers
44 views

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 ...
TomR's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
55 views

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 ...
lightning's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
691 views

Is Panini's grammar regular in the same sense as that present in the Chomsky hierarchy?

Panini's grammar is said to have algebraic rules governing every aspect of the Sanskrit language. If the rules are completely formal, what is the place of this grammar in the Chomsky hierarchy? How ...
Gratiela Monica Marcus's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
266 views

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....
lmc's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
98 views

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 ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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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?
lmc's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
96 views

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 ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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The Inflectional Phrase and Welsh

Wikipedia explains how the Inflectional Phrase has a VP as its complement and an NP (the subject of the phrase) as its specifier. It is long ago that I studied this, but a quick look at Sprachliches ...
Omar and Lorraine's user avatar