1957 SyntacticStructures

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Subject Headings: Natural Language Syntactic Theory, Phrase Structure Grammar, Generative Grammar, Chomsky Hierarchy, Syntactic Structures.


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    1. . Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.
    2. . Furiously sleep ideas green colorless.

It is fair to assume that neither sentence (1) nor (2) (nor indeed any part of these sentences) had ever occurred in an English discourse. Hence, in any statistical model for grammaticalness, these sentences will be ruled out on identical grounds as equally "remote" from English. Yet (1), though nonsensical, is grammatical, while (2) is not. [1]


Noam Chomsky, Syntactic Structures was the snowball which began the avalanche of the modem "cognitive revolution". The cognitive perspective originated in the seventeenth century and now construes modern linguistics as part of psychology and human biology. Depending on their initial conditions, children grow into adults with various language systems, some variety of Japanese if raised in Tokyo and Cornish English if raised in the village of Polperro. Linguists seek to describe the mental systems that Japanese or Cornish people have, their language "organs". These systems are represented somehow in human mind/brains, are acquired on exposure to retrain kinds of experiences, and art used in certain ways during speech comprehension or production and for a variety of purposes: communication, play, affects, group identity, etc. Linguists also specify the genetic information, common to the species, which permits the growth of mature language organs in Cornish, Japanese, Dutch, Kinande and Navaho children.



 AuthorvolumeDate ValuetitletypejournaltitleUrldoinoteyear
1957 SyntacticStructuresNoam Chomsky (1928-)Syntactic Structureshttp://www.degruyter.de/cont/fb/sk/detail.cfm?isbn=97831101727991957