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Title: Tranformational Analysis
Authors: Chomsky, Noam
Issue Date: 1955
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania
Abstract: This study had its origin in certain problems that arose in attempting to extend linguistic techniques to the analysis of discourse. This extension naturally presupposed standard linguistic analysis, but in the attempt to develop effective techniques of discourse analysis it was found necessary to assume certain knowledge about linguistic structure which was not in fact provided by existing methods, though it seemed within the range of distributional study. In particular, these methods failed to account for such obvious relations between sentences as the active-passive relation. Systematic investigation of this problem exposed other gaps in syntactic theory, and led finally to this attempt to construct a higher level of transformational analysis. This is basically a study of the arrangement of words and morphemes in sentences, hence a study of linguistic form. Thus it is syntactic study in both the narrow sense (as opposed to phonology) and in the broader sense (as opposed to semantics). No reliance is placed on the meaning of linguistic expressions in this study, in part, because it is felt that the theory of meaning fails to meet certain minimum requirements of objectivity and operational verifiability, but more importantly, because semantic notions, if taken seriously, appear to be quite irrelevant to the problems being investigated here. This study was carried out in close collaboration with Zellig Harris, to whom I am indebted for many of the fundamental underlying ideas . I have also received suggestions and criticism from Morris Halle. I would like to express my gratitude to the Society of Fellows of Harvard University for their support of the program of research of which this study constitutes a part.
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