2. The initial dealing
Phrase structure grammar and
transformational generative grammar are
two models of syntactic analysis that
Chomsky examined in his Syntactic
While the Phrase structure follows an
approach on slow, painstaking data
gathering and analysis, the
languages and theories about the general
principles in producing language.
While PS analysis was capable of
demonstrating some of the
relationships in English sentence
pattern, TG provided basis for
analysis of the differences between
sentences where the patterns were
the same but the relationships
4. Deeper arguments
. The first phrase structure rule is as follows:
NP AUX VP
This rule suggests that a sentence may be rewritten as a noun phrase
followed by an auxiliary, followed by a verb phrase. There is only one
element to the left of the arrow and a "string" of elements to the right. These
rules can be represented by bracketing or by tree diagrams.
Chomsky criticizes this type of analysis as being
"completely dependent upon the string immediately preceding it for its next
step in a derivation" (p.215). Chomsky argues that even "a fully developed"
phrase structure grammar is not adequate enough to account for all the
linguistic data. He suggests that the grammar that includes transformational
rules is "a more powerful grammar" (p.222). "The solution, he thinks, is to
add a transformational component to the grammar."
Bronstein (1975) points out that
transformational generative grammar is
based on the fact that there are two levels
of analysis. Each sentence can be
analyzed in terms of a deep structure that
represents the "meaning" and a surface
structure that represents the "sound."
6. Where the Failure takes place
Phrase structure grammar fails to
account for sentences with structural
ambiguity, sentences that have more
than one interpretation.
Yule (1985) gives the following
According to phrase structure
grammar, this sentence can be
analyzed in only a one way. However,
by assuming a deep structure, we can
give two distinct deep structures to
this single surface structure.
Annie whacked a man with an umbrella.
This sentence predicts that "Annie had an
umbrella and she whacked a man with
it." The prepositional phrase is
dominated by the verb phrase because
an umbrella is interpreted as an
instrument. One the other hand, this
sentence can be interpreted as "Annie
whacked a man and the man happened
to be carrying an umbrella."
7. Moreover, Smith and Wilson (1979) point
out that PS grammar faces difficulties in
dealing with the complex behavior of there
using a level of surface structure alone.
The behavior of there is complex because
it behaves like an NP. It inverts in yes-no
questions and it can be used in tag
Was there a rabbet in the hat?
There was a rabbet in the hat, wasn't
8. Solving by TG grammar method
However, transformational rules can solve the problem of the
complex behavior of there.
Consider the following examples:
There is a rabbet in the basket.
A rabbet is in the basket.
We can derive the first sentence from the second sentence using
the rule of There- insertion. This rule suggests that we insert
there in the subject position and move the subject of the original
sentence to be between the verb and the prepositional phrase.
Kebbe (1995) points out that
Generative grammar is considered
superior to PS grammar because it
can successfully account for
Thus, we can argue that an
imperative like behave yourself has you
as its subject in the deep structure:
Furthermore, Phrase Structure grammar fails
to account for the logical relations between
items in sentences which have the same
syntactic structure. It fails to recognize the
difference between sentences like Paul is
easy to please and Paul is eager to please.
In the 1st sentence- Others could please
Paul whereas in the 2nd sentence-Paul
sought to please others.
rules are much more powerful in
the sense that they operate on whole
strings of symbols and can order :
A>The arrangement of those symbols
B>The addition or deletion of symbols
C>The combination of more than one
string of symbols
12. Our Conclusion here goes
Transformations and deep structure paved the way for
many important new linguistic theories. Bornstein (1977)
says that in Transformational Generative grammar, the
information is given in an "explicit" and "mathematical" form
(p.39). Lester (1976) comments on the superiority of
Generative grammar to Phrase Structure grammar:
“One of two main differences between phrase structure and
transformational grammar is that one is traditional in one
line of structure analysis and the other has two stages of
analysis… The main advantage to this two-stage analysis
is that it better mirrors our intuitive knowledge of ambiguity
and paraphrase relations between surface sentences.