generative grammar


generative grammar

Finite set of formal rules that will produce all the grammatical sentences of a language. The idea of a generative grammar was first definitively articulated by Noam Chomsky in Syntactic Structures (1957). The generative grammarian's task is ideally not just to define the interrelation of elements in a particular language, but also to characterize universal grammar—that is, the set of rules and principles intrinsic to all natural languages, which are thought to be an innate endowment of the human intellect. See also grammar, syntax.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on generative grammar, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up generative grammar? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.