Current Issues in Linguistic Theory by Noam Chomsky

By Noam Chomsky

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4. COMPREHENSIVE~ESS OF GRAMMARS In the preceding discussion, three levels of adequacy have been loosely sketched that might be attained by a linguistic description in the areas of phonology, syntax, and semantics. Of these, only the levels of descriptive and explanatory adequacy (and, ultimately, only the latter) are of sufficient interest to justify further discussion. Notice, however, that these levels of success are discussed only for grammars that are paired with some linguistic theory. , if our linguistic theory merely states that a grammar is an arbitrary computer program).

It for abstract Nouns, some (one, thing», or it may be an abstract "dummy element". It is this designated representative of the category that must appear in the underlying strings for those transformations that do not preserve, in the transform, a specification of the actual terminal representative of the category in question. In other words, a transformation can delete an element only if this element is the designated representative of a category, or if the structural condition that defines this transformation states that the deleted element is structurally identical to another element of the transformed string.

Thus if rule (6) has applied to form a string which is embedded as a relative clause, it cannot reapply to this embedded string, preposing one of its Noun Phrases to the full sentence. , but not "what did he wonder where John put"; etc. , and so on), we cannot have "what did he know someone who has (of yours")? Thus we can prepose the first, but not the second of the indefinite Noun Phrases of "he knew someone who has something (of yours)", and this, too, is accounted for by the restriction of (6) to a single application to each terminal string.

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