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The Minimalist Program$
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Noam Chomsky

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262527347

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262527347.001.0001

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Categories and Transformations

Categories and Transformations

(p.201) 4 Categories and Transformations
The Minimalist Program

Noam Chomsky

The MIT Press

This chapter analyzes the minimalist framework for Universal Grammar, with particular emphasis on functional categories and transformations, and revises it step by step in an effort to approach as closely as possible the goals of the Minimalist Program for linguistic theory. The end result is a substantially different conception of the mechanisms of language. The chapter first reviews the guiding ideas of the Minimalist Program, paying attention to a particular language L that determines a set of derivations (computations). It then considers the specificity of language faculty (modularity) and demonstrates that for a particular (I-)language L, the phenomena of sound and meaning for L are determined by pairs. It also discusses the cognitive system of the language faculty; the application of Select or Merge in the course of a derivation; certain assumptions about lexicon; the theory of phrase structure within a minimalist framework; the relation between visibility at the level of Logical Form and accessibility to the computational system; and the theories of movement and economy.

Keywords:   functional categories, transformations, Universal Grammar, Minimalist Program, linguistic theory, language, derivation, language faculty, lexicon, theory of phrase structure

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