World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Deep Structure

Article Id: WHEBN0000369018
Reproduction Date:

Title: Deep Structure  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Transformational grammar, Theta role, Generative semantics
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Deep Structure

In linguistics, specifically in the study of syntax in the tradition of generative grammar (also known as transformational grammar), the deep structure of a linguistic expression is a theoretical construct that seeks to unify several related structures. For example, the sentences "Pat loves Chris" and "Chris is loved by Pat" mean roughly the same thing and use similar words. Some linguists, in particular Noam Chomsky, have tried to account for this similarity by positing that these two sentences are distinct surface forms that derive from a common deep structure. [1]

The concept of deep structure plays an important role in transformational grammar. In early transformational syntax, deep structures are derivation trees of a context free language. These trees are then transformed by a sequence of tree rewriting operations ("transformations") into surface structures. The terminal yield of a surface structure tree, the surface form, is then predicted to be a grammatical sentence of the language being studied. The role and significance of deep structure changed a great deal as Chomsky developed his theories, and since the mid-1990s deep structure no longer features at all (see minimalist program).

It is tempting to regard deep structures as representing meanings and surface structures as representing sentences that express those meanings, but this is not the concept of deep structure favoured by Chomsky. Rather, a sentence more closely corresponds to a deep structure paired with the surface structure derived from it, with an additional phonetic form obtained from processing of the surface structure. It has been variously suggested that the interpretation of a sentence is determined by its deep structure alone, by a combination of its deep and surface structures, or by some other level of representation altogether (logical form), as argued in 1977 by Chomsky's student Robert May. Chomsky may have tentatively entertained the first of these ideas in the early 1960s, but quickly moved away from it to the second, and finally the third. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the generative semantics movement put up a vigorous defence of the first option, sparking an acrimonious debate, the "Linguistics Wars".[2]

Chomsky noted in his early years that by dividing deep structures from surface structures, one could understand "slip of the tongue" moments (where someone says something that he did not intend) as instances where deep structures do not translate into the intended surface structure.[3]

The "surface" appeal of the deep structure concept soon led people from unrelated fields (architecture, music, politics, and even ritual studies) to use the term to express various concepts in their own work. In common usage, the term is often used as a synonym for universal grammar—the constraints which Chomsky claims govern the overall forms of linguistic expression available to the human species. This is probably due to the importance of deep structure in Chomsky's earlier work on universal grammar, though his concept of universal grammar is logically independent of any particular theoretical construct, including deep structure.

According to Middleton (1990), Schenkerian analysis of music corresponds to the Chomskyan notion of deep structure, applying to a two-level generative structure for melody, harmony, and rhythm, of which the analysis by Lee (1985) of rhythmical structure is an instance. See also Chord progression.

See also

References

Notes

General references

  1. Noam Chomsky (1957). Syntactic Structures. Mouton.
  2. Noam Chomsky (1965). Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. MIT Press.
  3. Noam Chomsky (1981). Lectures on Government and Binding. Mouton.
  4. Noam Chomsky (1986). Barriers. Linguistic Inquiry Monographs. MIT Press.
  5. C. S. Lee (1985). "The rhythmic interpretation of simple musical sequences: towards a perceptual model", in P. Howell, I. Cross and R. West (eds.), Musical Structure and Cognition (Academic Press), pp. 53–69.
  6. Richard Middleton (1990). Studying Popular Music. Open University Press.
  7. Samovar, L, & Porter, R (August 2003). Communication between Culures .Wadsworth Publishing.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.