The Organisation of the Grammar
In the last chapter, we considered the generative phonology (GP) approach to phonological rules and representations. We said that a generative grammar is a model of the native speaker’s unconscious linguistic knowledge. We also claimed that this knowledge is organised such that there are distinct areas of syntactic, semantic and phonological knowledge. These hypotheses are reflected in the modular organisation of the generative grammar of a language: we depict these different sorts of knowledge as discrete, but interacting, modules, or components, within the grammar. Let us see how this is done within the model of generative grammar assumed by Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle in their 1968 book The Sound Pattern of English (often abbreviated to ‘SPE’). This model, which was developed and applied to other languages by phonologists in the late sixties and early seventies, is usually referred to as ‘the SPE model’ or ‘the standard model’ of generative phonology.
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- While Chomsky and Halle (1968) remains the classic text, and is now available in paperback, it is not easy reading for a beginning student. The reader is advised to begin with the texts on generative phonology given at the end of Chapter 4, before proceeding to Chomsky and Halle (1968), much of which is still rewarding reading, and remains relevant to current phonological theory. For a general introduction to generative linguistics, see Smith and Wilson (1979); it sets generative phonology in its context, and serves as a good, easy-to-read, introduction to the literature on generative linguistics.Google Scholar