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An exploration Noam Chomsky’s theories of generative and Universal grammar

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  1. Introduction
  2. The revolutionary ideas of Chomsky
  3. The study on Sanskrit language
  4. International Phonetic Association
  5. Rules of a language
  6. Language and philosophical thinking
  7. The idea of competence
  8. Chomsky's linguistic ideas
  9. Chomsky and Halle's views
  10. The generative and abstract nature of the writers' perceptions of phonology
  11. Chomsky's discussion of the mental faculty of language
  12. Conclusion
  13. Bibliography

Noam Chomsky is a linguist and philosopher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has been one of the twentieth century's most important writers in linguistic theory. His research into the creative aspect of human language has spawned theories that dissect and exposit a comprehensive portrait of the system which produces natural language. His generative grammar theory involves the combination of the previous linguistic traditions of behavioral and structural linguistics. This essay will explore the work and theories of Chomsky, and there will be a discussion of how Chomsky fits in the history of both linguistics and philosophy.

Although many of Chomsky's ideas are revolutionary, they are rooted in some ancient ideas that have developed through the complex history of the study of language. A large portion of this history begins with Panini, an ancient Sanskrit grammarian who worked with a generative system similar to Chomsky's.

[...] Perhaps both of these cases are an instance of something other than what Chomsky is referring to when he terms something a ?language.' Perhaps these are systems of communication which are adequate for this community, but are not exactly what Chomsky defines as a ?language.' Despite the debates which continue over Chomsky today, his theories remain highly influential and useful in understanding a how language works and is used. Although Chomsky argues against it, his concepts of linguistic structures are often applied to other cognitive systems, such as music. [...]


[...] His theory uses these components as evidence of the universal qualities of human language, and his use of a generative cycle of language also reinforces his perception of it as an innate faculty. The next category that provides a good picture of Chomsky's influence is the scope of his phonological theory. Chomsky repeats this process of formal analysis on the ?word-level? of linguistic theory with his work on the phonological rules of the English, The Sound Pattern of English. This book takes a similar process of diagramming each part of how language is generated, and it reveals similar characteristics of a recursive nature within English phonological structure. [...]


[...] This portrait is one which plays upon the synergy between both deep and surface structure of what Chomsky believes to be a universal grammar of natural language. This grammar is signified as and is a system which catalogs the common aspects of natural language production at both the structural level of (semantics and syntax) and the physical production of word sounds and how words are formed (phonetics and phonology). While the surface structure deals with the coding of specific parts of language, the deep structure connects the rules of these parts with the meaning of the sentence. [...]

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