Generative Grammar short notes

Generative grammar is a theory introduced by Noam Chomsky in 1950. He was an American linguistic who developed ‘UG’ “Universal Grammar” theory.

Generative grammar means to ‘generate’ is a theory of language proposed by Chomsky in his ‘syntactic structure‘ in 1957, which means a precisely formulated set of rules whose output is all (and only) the sentence of a language i.e. of the language that it generates. However, Noam Chomsky’s the theory of language is associated with the shift in orientation, has been referred as Generative grammar.

According to Chomsky, generative grammar is a system of rules that generates exactly those combinations of words that form grammatical sentence in a given language. It is also a set of explicit rules that may apply repeatedly to generate an indefinite number of sentences which can be as long as one wants them to be.

Generative grammar is a theory of grammar that holds human language which is shaped by a set of basic principles which is also a part of human being.

There are two principles which signifies this theory such as;

  1.  The universal feature:- This feature constitutes grammar of individual language which should be characterized in formal terms.
  • Formal statement:- This statement is equated with characterizing the tacit knowledge or competence, which a native speaker have about like; syntactic, phonological, morphological and semantic patterning in their language.

Generative grammar sees the theory of competence as forming a central component of language, which interacts with principle from cognition, neurology, physiology and other domains to give language its overall character.

Generative grammar doesn’t not merely distinguish the grammatical sentence of a language from ungrammatical sequence of words of the same language; but they also provide a structural description or syntactic analysis for each of the grammatical sentence.

There are different types of generative grammar including ‘Transformational generative grammar’ which is also developed by Noam Chomsky in mid 1950s.

Transformational generative grammar refers to the way of specifying the rules and the relationships between the types of function that it performed.

  • They change underlying grammatical relations in the case of passives which is derived from actives.

For Example:

In active- “John saw Jill”

In passive- “Jill was seen by John”

As we can see in above sentence, that how active sentence is derived in passive by using syntactic element. Therefore, these transformations are referred as singularly (simple) transformation, because they include transformation like passive auxiliary and negative.

  • And as a second function, transformations create complex sentences out of simple ones, as in the case of embedding.

The sentence, “Amy thinks that Bill will leave” was driven by an embedding transformation that combined “Amy thinks” and “will leave”. Therefore, these transformations are refers as generalized (doubled- based) transformation.

In formulating the principles of transformational grammar. Chomsky clarified essential properties of transformations.

However, the ‘Chomskian’ approach not only offered a dynamic vision of syntagmatic structure which was mixing in structural grammar, but also eliminated the atomization of “La Langue” that accompanied post- ‘Bloomfieldian’ methods and suggested a processual concept of “La Langue” in which each sequence of rules stem from a coherent.

Also, Chomsky’s theory was opposed to post- Bloomfieldian’s analytical approach to structure, and in proposed to that, he said instead of breaking down the sentence into immediate constitutions one should follow the synthetic process that leads these constitutes to a syntagmatic structure or transform this into another one.

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