Mental Grammar

Mental Grammar

MENTAL GRAMMAR

 

1. The definition of mental grammar

  • Mental grammar is the grammar that human has in mind
  • Mental grammar is important for psycholinguistic, since language is considered as a psychological product, which deals with human’s mind.

 

2. Chomsky’s competence and performance distinction

  • Competence is the knowledge that people have of the grammar of their language
  • Competence is considered the same as mental grammar
  • According to Chomsky, it is the goal of linguistics to describe this competence
  • According to Chomsky, psycholinguistics has two major goals: (1) to specify how people use competence so that they are able to produce and understand sentences: and (2) to specify how people acquire competence (grammatical knowledge)
  • Performance is the activities in producing and understanding sentences.
  • Competence is just a part of performance. In other word, mental grammar is just a part in producing and understanding sentences.

 

3. Chomsky’s grammatical conception

  • Syntax of the grammar is considered primary, with meaning and sound being secondary.
  • The relationship among grammar (syntax), meaning, and sound can be imaged below:

Sintax

Meaning

Sound

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Standard Theory

  • It was proposed in 1965 by Chomsky
  • It consists of rules: syntactic, semantic, and phonological
  • Each set of rule is systematically integrated and serves to provide a linguistic description or representation at four different levels, sound level, meaning level, and two syntactic levels (deep structure and surface structure)
  • Deep structure is composed of the phrase structure (PS) rules, which is stored in the lexicon.
  • The PS rules provide the basic constituent structure of a sentence, e.g. S àNP+VP (the boy opens the door, the boy as NP and opens the door as VP)
  • Derivation is the history of a sentence, from elemental S and S àNP+VP structures through various intermadiate structures to the final deep structures.
  • An example of a derivation is imaged below:

 

S

NP

VP

Prep P

N

V

N

Prep P

NP

D

N

D

N

The

boy

bought

candy

at

the

store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Surface structure is outcome of transformational rules operating on the deep structure
  • Transformational rules are rules which delete, add and move materials
  • An example of the derivation of surface structure is imaged below:

 

 

 

 

VP

NP

V

D

N

open

the

door

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • PS rules                                                Lexicon

    Deep structure

    Transformational Rules

    Surface structure

    Phonological rules

    Semantic rules

    Phonetic Interpretation

    Semantic interpretation

    S

    The conception of Chomsky’s standard theory can be imaged below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linguistics challenge to Chomsky’s grammar

  • The challenges have mainly stemmed from two sources: (1) disagrement with the organization of his grammar where syntax is given a primary role over semantics; and (2) disagreement with the adequacy of his structural characterization of such basic syntactic relations and constituents, particularly Subject, Direct Object, Indirect Object, and Verb Phrase.
  • The other theories disagreed with Chomsky’s are as like Generative Semantics Grammar, Semantic Case, Cognitive Grammar, Montague Grammar, Relational Grammar, and Lexical Functional Grammar.
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