Sunday, October 16, 2011

Transformational Generative Grammar-Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

In linguistics, a transformational grammar or transformational-generative grammar (TGG) is a generative grammar, especially of a natural language, that has been developed in aChomskyan tradition. Additionally, transformational grammar is the Chomskyan tradition that gives rise to specific transformational grammars. Much current research in transformational grammar is inspired by Chomsky's Minimalist Program.[1]
In 1957, Noam Chomsky published Syntactic Structures, in which he developed the idea that each sentence in a language has two levels of representation — a deep structure and a surface structure.[2][3] The deep structure represented the core semantic relations of a sentence, and was mapped on to the surface structure (which followed the phonological form of the sentence very closely) via transformations. Chomsky believed there are considerable similarities between languages' deep structures, and that these structures reveal properties, common to all languages that surface structures conceal. However, this may not have been the central motivation for introducing deep structure. Transformations had been proposed prior to the development of deep structure as a means of increasing the mathematical and descriptive power of context-free grammars. Similarly, deep structure was devised largely for technical reasons relating to early semantic theory. Chomsky emphasizes the importance of modern formal mathematical devices in the development of grammatical theory:
But the fundamental reason for [the] inadequacy of traditional grammars is a more technical one. Although it was well understood that linguistic processes are in some sense "creative," the technical devices for expressing a system of recursive processes were simply not available until much more recently. In fact, a real understanding of how a language can (in Humboldt's words) "make infinite use of finite means" has developed only within the last thirty years, in the course of studies in the foundations of mathematics.
—Aspects of the Theory of Syntax
Development of basic concepts
Though transformations continue to be important in Chomsky's current theories, he has now abandoned the original notion of Deep Structure and Surface Structure. Initially, two additional levels of representation were introduced (LF — Logical Form, and PF — Phonetic Form), and then in the 1990s Chomsky sketched out a new program of research known as Minimalism, in which Deep Structure and Surface Structure no longer featured and PF and LF remained as the only levels of representation.
To complicate the understanding of the development of Noam Chomsky's theories, the precise meanings of Deep Structure and Surface Structure have changed over time — by the 1970s, the two were normally referred to simply as D-Structure and S-Structure by Chomskyan linguists. In particular, the idea that the meaning of a sentence was determined by its Deep Structure (taken to its logical conclusions by thegenerative semanticists during the same period) was dropped for good by Chomskyan linguists when LF took over this role (previously, Chomsky and Ray Jackendoff had begun to argue that meaning was determined by both Deep and Surface Structure).[4][5]
Innate linguistic knowledge
Terms such as "transformation" can give the impression that theories of transformational generative grammar are intended as a model for the processes through which the human mind constructs and understands sentences. Chomsky is clear that this is not in fact the case: a generative grammar models only the knowledge that underlies the human ability to speak and understand. One of the most important of Chomsky's ideas is that most of this knowledge is innate, with the result that a baby can have a large body of prior knowledge about the structure of language in general, and need only actually learn the idiosyncratic features of the language(s) it is exposed to. Chomsky was not the first person to suggest that all languages had certain fundamental things in common (he quotes philosophers writing several centuries ago who had the same basic idea), but he helped to make the innateness theory respectable after a period dominated by more behavioristattitudes towards language. Perhaps more significantly, he made concrete and technically sophisticated proposals about the structure of language, and made important proposals regarding how the success of grammatical theories should be evaluated.
Grammatical theories
In the 1960s, Chomsky introduced two central ideas relevant to the construction and evaluation of grammatical theories. The first was the distinction between competence andperformance. Chomsky noted the obvious fact that people, when speaking in the real world, often make linguistic errors (e.g., starting a sentence and then abandoning it midway through). He argued that these errors in linguistic performance were irrelevant to the study of linguistic competence (the knowledge that allows people to construct and understand grammatical sentences). Consequently, the linguist can study an idealised version of language, greatly simplifying linguistic analysis (see the "Grammaticality" section below). The second idea related directly to the evaluation of theories of grammar. Chomsky distinguished between grammars that achieve descriptive adequacy and those that go further and achieved explanatory adequacy. A descriptively adequate grammar for a particular language defines the (infinite) set of grammatical sentences in that language; that is, it describes the language in its entirety. A grammar that achieves explanatory adequacy has the additional property that it gives an insight into the underlying linguistic structures in the human mind; that is, it does not merely describe the grammar of a language, but makes predictions about how linguistic knowledge is mentally represented. For Chomsky, the nature of such mental representations is largely innate, so if a grammatical theory has explanatory adequacy it must be able to explain the various grammatical nuances of the languages of the world as relatively minor variations in the universal pattern of human language. Chomsky argued that, even though linguists were still a long way from constructing descriptively adequate grammars, progress in terms of descriptive adequacy will only come if linguists hold explanatory adequacy as their goal. In other words, real insight into the structure of individual languages can only be gained through comparative study of a wide range of languages, on the assumption that they are all cut from the same cloth.
I-Language" and "E-Language"
In 1986, Chomsky proposed a distinction between I-Language and E-Language, similar but not identical to the competence/performance distinction.[6] (I-language) refers to Internal language and is contrasted with External Language (or E-language). I-Language is taken to be the object of study in linguistic theory; it is the mentally represented linguistic knowledge that a native speaker of a language has, and is therefore a mental object — from this perspective, most of theoretical linguistics is a branch of psychology. E-Language encompasses all other notions of what a language is, for example that it is a body of knowledge or behavioural habits shared by a community. Thus, E-Language is not itself a coherent concept,[7] and Chomsky argues that such notions of language are not useful in the study of innate linguistic knowledge, i.e., competence, even though they may seem sensible and intuitive, and useful in other areas of study. Competence, he argues, can only be studied if languages are treated as mental objects.
Further information: Grammaticality
Chomsky argued that the notions "grammatical" and "ungrammatical" could be defined in a meaningful and useful way. In contrast, an extreme behaviorist linguist would argue that language can only be studied through recordings or transcriptions of actual speech, the role of the linguist being to look for patterns in such observed speech, but not to hypothesize about why such patterns might occur, nor to label particular utterances as either "grammatical" or "ungrammatical." Although few linguists in the 1950s actually took such an extreme position, Chomsky was at an opposite extreme, defining grammaticality in an unusually mentalistic way (for the time).[8] He argued that the intuition of a native speaker is enough to define the grammaticalness of a sentence; that is, if a particular string of English words elicits a double take, or feeling of wrongness in a native English speaker, and when various extraneous factors affecting intuitions are controlled for, it can be said that the string of words is ungrammatical. This, according to Chomsky, is entirely distinct from the question of whether a sentence is meaningful, or can be understood. It is possible for a sentence to be both grammatical and meaningless, as in Chomsky's famous example "colorless green ideas sleep furiously." But such sentences manifest a linguistic problem distinct from that posed by meaningful but ungrammatical (non)-sentences such as "man the bit sandwich the," the meaning of which is fairly clear, but no native speaker would accept as well formed.
The use of such intuitive judgments permitted generative syntacticians to base their research on a methodology in which studying language through a corpus of observed speech became downplayed, since the grammatical properties of constructed sentences were considered to be appropriate data to build a grammatical model on.
Minimalist program
From the mid-1990s onwards, much research in transformational grammar has been inspired by Chomsky's Minimalist Program.[9] The "Minimalist Program" aims at the further development of ideas involving economy of derivation and economy of representation, which had started to become significant in the early 1990s, but were still rather peripheral aspects of Transformational-generative grammar theory.
 Economy of derivation is a principle stating that movements (i.e., transformations) only occur in order to match interpretable features with uninterpretable features. An example of an interpretable feature is the plural inflection on regular English nouns, e.g., dogs. The word dogs can only be used to refer to several dogs, not a single dog, and so this inflection contributes to meaning, making it interpretable. English verbs are inflected according to the number of their subject (e.g., "Dogs bite" vs "A dog bites"), but in most sentences this inflection just duplicates the information about number that the subject noun already has, and it is therefore uninterpretable.
 Economy of representation is the principle that grammatical structures must exist for a purpose, i.e., the structure of a sentence should be no larger or more complex than required to satisfy constraints on grammaticality.
Both notions, as described here, are somewhat vague, and indeed the precise formulation of these principles is controversial.[10][11] An additional aspect of minimalist thought is the idea that the derivation of syntactic structures should be uniform; that is, rules should not be stipulated as applying at arbitrary points in a derivation, but instead apply throughout derivations. Minimalist approaches to phrase structure have resulted in "Bare Phrase Structure," an attempt to eliminate X-bar theory. In 1998, Chomsky suggested that derivations proceed in phases. The distinction of Deep Structure vs. Surface Structure is not present in Minimalist theories of syntax, and the most recent phase-based theories also eliminate LF and PF as unitary levels of representation.
Mathematical representation
Returning to the more general mathematical notion of a grammar, an important feature of all transformational grammars is that they are more powerful than context-free grammars.[12] This idea was formalized by Chomsky in the Chomsky hierarchy. Chomsky argued that it is impossible to describe the structure of natural languages using context-free grammars.[13] His general position regarding the non-context-freeness of natural language has held up since then, although his specific examples regarding the inadequacy of CFGs in terms of their weak generative capacity were later disproven.[14][15]
The usual usage of the term 'transformation' in linguistics refers to a rule that takes an input typically called the Deep Structure (in the Standard Theory) or D-structure (in the extended standard theory or government and binding theory) and changes it in some restricted way to result in a Surface Structure (or S-structure). In TGG, Deep structures were generated by a set of phrase structure rules.
For example, a typical transformation in TG is the operation of subject-auxiliary inversion (SAI). This rule takes as its input a declarative sentence with an auxiliary: "John has eaten all the heirloom tomatoes." and transforms it into "Has John eaten all the heirloom tomatoes?" In their original formulation (Chomsky 1957), these rules were stated as rules that held over strings of either terminals or constituent symbols or both.
In the 1970s, by the time of the Extended Standard Theory, following the work of Joseph Emonds on structure preservation, transformations came to be viewed as holding over trees. By the end of government and binding theory in the late 1980s, transformations are no longer structure changing operations at all; instead they add information to already existing trees by copying constituents.
The earliest conceptions of transformations were that they were construction-specific devices. For example, there was a transformation that turned active sentences into passive ones. A different transformation raised embedded subjects into main clause subject position in sentences such as "John seems to have gone"; and yet a third reordered arguments in the dative alternation. With the shift from rules to principles and constraints that was found in the 1970s, these construction-specific transformations morphed into general rules (all the examples just mentioned being instances of NP movement), which eventually changed into the single general rule of move alpha or Move.
Transformations actually come of two types: (i) the post-Deep structure kind mentioned above, which are string or structure changing, and (ii) Generalized Transformations (GTs). Generalized transformations were originally proposed in the earliest forms of generative grammar (e.g., Chomsky 1957). They take small structures, either atomic or generated by other rules, and combine them. For example, the generalized transformation of embedding would take the kernel "Dave said X" and the kernel "Dan likes smoking" and combine them into "Dave said Dan likes smoking." GTs are thus structure building rather than structure changing. In the Extended Standard Theory and government and binding theory, GTs were abandoned in favor of recursive phrase structure rules. However, they are still present in tree-adjoining grammar as the Substitution and Adjunction operations, and they have recently re-emerged in mainstream generative grammar in Minimalism, as the operations Merge and Move.
In generative phonology, another form of transformation is the phonological rule, which describes a mapping between an underlying representation (the phoneme) and the surface form that is articulated during natural speech.


IC Analysis - BA -English Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

Immediate constituent analysis
Another thing structural linguists realize is that a sentence does not only have a LINEAR structure, consisting of individual words one after another in a line; they also have a HIERARCHICAL structure, made up of layers of word groups. The words in a sentence form into word groups first. In the sentence the boy kicked the ball, the words are not of the same degree of closeness to each other. Some words are in a closer relationship to each other than others. The relation between the and boy, for example, is closer than that between boy and kicked. And the boy is a word group while boy kicked is not. This aspect of sentence, the relation between a sentence and its component elements, is generally referred to as the relation between a CONSTRUCTION and its CONSITUENTS, in which a very important notion is immediate constituent analysis, IC ANALYSIS for short.
(1) How to do it?
This notion was proposed by the American linguist Leonard Boomfield in his language, first published in 1993. he said “any English-speaking person who constituents of poor john ran away are the two forms poor john and ran away; that each of these is, in turn, a complex form; that the immediate constituents of ran away are ran…and away…; and the constituents of poor john are… Poor and john ”(p.161).
In other words, IMMEDIATE CONSTITUENTS are constituents immediately, directly, below the level of a construction, which may be a sentence like poor john ran away or a word group like poor John. Theoretically speaking, the construction may also be a word. A word may also be analyzed into its immediate constituents-morphemes, e.g. lovely into {love} and {ly}, talked into {talk} and {ed}. And the last level of constituents, i.e. morphemes, are known as ultimate constituents. In this sense, we can say a constituent which is not at the same time a construction is a morpheme, and a construction which is not at the same time a construction is a sentence. So immediate constituent analysis may be defined as: the analysis of a sentence in terms of its immediate constituents-word groups (or phrases), which are in turn analyzed into the immediate constituents of their own, and the process goes on until the ultimate constituents are reached. In practice, however, for sake of convenience, we usually stop at the level of word.
The immediate constituent analysis of a sentence may be carried out with brackets as:
Ex. 4-4
(a) ((poor) (john)) ((ran) (away))
it may also be more easily shown with a tree diagram:

Now the question is: how do we know where to make the cuts? Why do we say poor John and ran away are the immediate constituents of the sentence, not poor and John ran away , or poor John ran and away ? The answer, the criterion used here, is substitutability: whether a sequence of words can be substituted for a single word and the structure remains the same. In the case of poor John ran away, poor John can be replaced by John, ran away by ran in terms of structure. Both are about somebody doing something. In the terminology of Saussure, we can say poor John and John , and ran away and ran, are each in a paradigmatic relation. They are identical syntactically speaking. but John ran away or poor John ran, cannot be replaced by any single word without changing the structure.
This type of analysis is similar to the traditional parsing in that the first cut comes at the boundary between subject and predicate. But it also differs from the latter in an important way. Traditionally, the grammarian analyzing the sentence would say poor is an attributive, John the subject, ran the predicate (verb), and away an adverbial, as if the sentence had a linear structure only. In contrast, IC analysis emphasizes the function of the intermediate level --- word group, seeing a hierarchical structure of the sentence as well.


IC Analysis - BA -English Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

Constituent is a term used in structural sentence analysis for every linguistic unit, which is a part of a larger linguistic unit. Several constituents together form a construction: for example, in the sentence The boy ate the apple, S (A), the boy (B), ate the apple (C), each part is a constituent. Constituents can be joined together with other constituents to form larger units. If two constituents, in the case of the example above, B (the boy) and C (ate the apple), are joined to form a hierarchically higher constituent A (“S” , here a sentence ), then B and C are said to be immediate constituents of A.
Ex. 4-7

This tree contains three Nodes. The top-most node, A, is the mother of the two lower nodes, B and C. B and C are Daughters of the same mother, and so we refer to them as Sister nodes. The simple tree in the above represents a constituent of category A which is composed of two parts, one of category B and the other of category C, occurring in that order.
To dismantle a grammatical construction in this way is called IMMEDIATE CONSTITUENT ANALYSIS or IC analysis.
The immediate constituents themselves can be constructions of specific types, for instance, the nominal phrase “The boy” can be further analysed into “The(Determiner) + boy (Noun)”. Thus, “The boy” is the construction of a nominal phrase, whereas “The” and “boy” are its constituents.
When a tree diagram is used to represent the constituent structure of a grammatical unit (e.g. a phrase or sentence), syntactic categories are used to label the nodes; the most common of these are listed in the following:

Word-level Phrasal
N= noun
Conj=conjunction NP=noun phrase
AP=adjective phrase
VP=verb phrase
PP=preposition phrase
S=sentence or clause
Take the construction The boy ate the apple for example again, one can analyze it by means of a TREE DIAGRAM in detail.
(a) Tree diagram

Ex. 4-8

(b) Bracketing
In contrast to tree diagram, BRACKETING is not so common, but it is an economic notation in representing the constituent structure of a grammatical unit.
(((The) (boy)) ((ate) ((the) (apple))))


IC Analysis - Definition-BA -English Rajarata University of Sri Lanka


An immediate constituent is any one of the largest grammatical units that constitute a construction. Immediate constituents are often further reducible.

Examples (English)
In the complex noun phrase the dog that killed the cat, each of the following items are immediate constituents:
• the
• dog
• that killed the cat


IC Analysis - BA -English Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

In linguistics, Immediate constituent analysis or IC Analysis is a method of sentence analysis first explicitly introduced by American linguist Leonard Bloomfield in his book Languagein 1933. It is a major feature of Bloomfieldian structuralist linguistics.
In IC analysis, a sentence is divided up into major divisions or "immediate constituents", and these constituents are in turn divided into further immediate constituents, and this process continues until irreducible constituents are reached, i.e., until each constituent consists of only a word or meaningful part of a word. The end result of IC analysis is often presented in a visual diagrammatic form that reveals the hierarchical immediate constituent structure of a sentence. For sentences whose structures are unusual, this diagramming may become excessively complex; in such cases verbal description is used.
For example, the sentence "The girl is happy" can be divided into immediate constituents "The girl" and "is happy". These in turn can be analyzed into immediate constituents (the+girl) and (is+happy), and so on. Bloomfield doesn't give any special technique to detect immediate constituents, rather appeals to the native speaker's intuition.


Thursday, October 13, 2011


In linguistics, syntax (from Ancient Greek σύνταξις "arrangement" from σύν syn, "together", and τάξις táxis, "an ordering") is the study of the principles and rules for constructing phrases and sentences in natural languages.
In addition to referring to the overarching discipline, the term syntax is also used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language, as in "the syntax of Modern Irish."
Modern research in syntax attempts to describe languages in terms of such rules. Many professionals in this discipline attempt to findgeneral rules that apply to all natural languages.
The term syntax is also used to refer to the rules governing the behavior of mathematical systems, such as formal languages used in logic. See Syntax (logic); Computer-programming languages; Syntax (programming languages).
Though there has been an interplay in the development of the modern theoretical frameworks for the syntax of formal languages and natural languages, this article surveys only the latter.
Works on grammar were written long before modern syntax came about; the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Pāṇini is often cited as an example of a premodern work that approaches the sophistication of a modern syntactic theory.[1] In the West, the school of thought that came to be known as "traditional grammar" began with the work of Dionysius Thrax.
For centuries, work in syntax was dominated by a framework known as grammaire générale, first expounded in 1660 by Antoine Arnauld in a book of the same title. This system took as its basic premise the assumption that language is a direct reflection of thought processes and therefore there is a single, most natural way to express a thought. That way, coincidentally, was exactly the way it was expressed in French.
However, in the 19th century, with the development of historical-comparative linguistics, linguists began to realize the sheer diversity of human language, and to question fundamental assumptions about the relationship between language and logic. It became apparent that there was no such thing as the most natural way to express a thought, and therefore logic could no longer be relied upon as a basis for studying the structure of language.
The Port-Royal grammar modeled the study of syntax upon that of logic (indeed, large parts of the Port-Royal Logic were copied or adapted from the Grammaire générale[2]). Syntactic categories were identified with logical ones, and all sentences were analyzed in terms of "Subject – Copula – Predicate". Initially, this view was adopted even by the early comparative linguists such as Franz Bopp.
The central role of syntax within theoretical linguistics became clear only in the 20th century, which could reasonably be called the "century of syntactic theory" as far as linguistics is concerned. For a detailed and critical survey of the history of syntax in the last two centuries, see the monumental work by Graffi (2001).
Modern theories
There are a number of theoretical approaches to the discipline of syntax. One school of thought, founded in the works of Derek Bickerton,[3] sees syntax as a branch of biology, since it conceives of syntax as the study of linguistic knowledge as embodied in the human mind. Other linguists (e.g. Gerald Gazdar) take a more Platonistic view, since they regard syntax to be the study of an abstract formal system.[4] Yet others (e.g. Joseph Greenberg) consider grammar a taxonomical device to reach broad generalizations across languages. Andrey Korsakov's school of thought suggests philosophic understanding of morphological and syntactic phenomena. At foundations of their linguistic ideas, lies classical philosophy which treats reality as consisting of things, their qualities and relationships. From here the followers of Korsakov's school assert the subdivision of words by the parts of speech.[5] Syntacticproblems also get their enlightenment in the terms of philosophic processes.[6] Some more approaches to the discipline are listed below.
Generative grammar
Main article: Generative grammar
The hypothesis of generative grammar is that language is a structure of the human mind. The goal of generative grammar is to make a complete model of this inner language (known as i-language). This model could be used to describe all human language and to predict the grammaticality of any given utterance (that is, to predict whether the utterance would sound correct to native speakers of the language). This approach to language was pioneered by Noam Chomsky. Most generative theories (although not all of them) assume that syntax is based upon the constituent structure of sentences. Generative grammars are among the theories that focus primarily on the form of a sentence, rather than its communicative function.
Among the many generative theories of linguistics, the Chomskyan theories are:
 Transformational Grammar (TG) (Original theory of generative syntax laid out by Chomsky in Syntactic Structures in 1957)[7]
 Government and binding theory (GB) (revised theory in the tradition of TG developed mainly by Chomsky in the 1970s and 1980s)[8]
 Minimalist program (MP) (a reworking of the theory out of the GB framework published by Chomsky in 1995)[9]
Other theories that find their origin in the generative paradigm are:
 Generative semantics (now largely out of date)
 Relational grammar (RG) (now largely out of date)
 Arc Pair grammar
 Generalized phrase structure grammar (GPSG; now largely out of date)
 Head-driven phrase structure grammar (HPSG)
 Lexical-functional grammar (LFG)
 Nanosyntax
Categorial grammar
Main article: Categorial grammar
Categorial grammar is an approach that attributes the syntactic structure not to rules of grammar, but to the properties of the syntactic categories themselves. For example, rather than asserting that sentences are constructed by a rule that combines a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP) (e.g. the phrase structure rule S → NP VP), in categorial grammar, such principles are embedded in the category of the head word itself. So the syntactic category for an intransitive verb is a complex formula representing the fact that the verb acts as a functorwhich requires an NP as an input and produces a sentence level structure as an output. This complex category is notated as (NP\S) instead of V. NP\S is read as " a category that searches to the left (indicated by \) for a NP (the element on the left) and outputs a sentence (the element on the right)". The category of transitive verb is defined as an element that requires two NPs (its subject and its direct object) to form a sentence. This is notated as (NP/(NP\S)) which means "a category that searches to the right (indicated by /) for an NP (the object), and generates a function (equivalent to the VP) which is (NP\S), which in turn represents a function that searches to the left for an NP and produces a sentence).
Tree-adjoining grammar is a categorial grammar that adds in partial tree structures to the categories.
Dependency grammar
Dependency grammar is a different type of approach in which structure is determined by the relations (such as grammatical relations) between a word (a head) and its dependents, rather than being based in constituent structure. For example, syntactic structure is described in terms of whether a particular noun is the subject or agent of the verb, rather than describing the relations in terms of phrases.
Some dependency-based theories of syntax:
 Algebraic syntax
 Word grammar
 Operator Grammar
 Meaning-Text Theory
Stochastic/probabilistic grammars/network theories
Theoretical approaches to syntax that are based upon probability theory are known as stochastic grammars. One common implementation of such an approach makes use of a neural network or connectionism. Some theories based within this approach are:
 Optimality theory
 Stochastic context-free grammar
[edit]Functionalist grammars
Functionalist theories, although focused upon form, are driven by explanation based upon the function of a sentence (i.e. its communicative function). Some typical functionalist theories include:
 Functional discourse grammar (Dik)
 Prague Linguistic Circle
 Systemic functional grammar
 Cognitive grammar
 Construction grammar (CxG)
 Role and reference grammar (RRG)
 Emergent grammar


Role of Syntax in Language

This section is an introduction to syntax in language as far as it is relevant to the content of this book. It is not meant to be a rigorous discussion of linguistics. What I am describing is a simple orthodox view of the grammar of language. Some more complex models are discussed by linguists but these are beyond the scope of this description. This section is included for those readers who would like a brief overview without having to refer separately to a linguistics textbook. Those who would like to read more about the various linguistic theories should refer to the bibliography for references to linguistics books and to sites on the web covering linguistic topics.
Languages have rules. The rules of a language are called the grammar. The reason for these rules is that a person needs to be able to speak an indeterminately large number of sentences in a lifetime. The effort would be impossibly great if each sentence had to be learnt separately.
By learning the rules for connecting words it is possible to create an infinite number of sentences, all of which are meaningful to a person who knows the syntax. Thus it is possible to construct many sentences that the speaker has never heard before.
A finite number of rules facilitates an infinite number of sentences that can be simultaneously understood by both the speaker and the listener.
In order for this to work with any degree of success, the rules have to be precise and have to be consistently adhered to. These rules cover such things as: the way words are constructed; the way the endings of words are changed according to context (inflection); the classification of words into parts of speech (nouns, verbs, pronouns, etc.); the way parts of speech are connected together.
The rules of grammar do not have to be explicitly understood by the speaker of the language or the listener.
The majority of native speakers of a language will have no formal knowledge of the grammar of a language but are still capable of speaking the language grammatically to a great degree of accuracy. Native speakers of a language assimilate these rules subconsciously while the language is being learned as a child.
The Components of Grammars
The grammar of a language has several components. These can be described as follows:
a) The phonetics that governs the structure of sounds;
b) The morphology that governs the structure of words;
c) The syntax, which governs the structure of sentences
d) The semantics that governs the meanings of words and sentences.
We are concerned here primarily with the syntax of the structure of sentences.
The Representations of Syntax
In Linguistics, the syntax of sentences can be described by different methods, for instance, for the following sentence:
"The boy kicked the ball"
The syntax can be described, by the following methods:
1. A statement of the correct sequence of the parts of speech (or Syntactic Categories):
Subject is followed by verb is followed by object.
In the above example,
subject = "The boy" (article followed by noun)
verb = "kicked"
object = "The ball" (article followed by noun)

2. by a series of transformational rules
For example:

Where in the above example,

3. By parsing diagrams
Here, the parts of a sentence are shown in a graphical way that emphasises the hierarchical relationships between the components of a sentence. For example:
Subject = “the boy” (article + noun)
Verb = “kicked”
Object = “the ball” (article + noun)
The above structure is the basic syntactic structure for a sentence in the English language. As more complex sentences are considered, it is easy, by this method, to see how these different structures relate to each other, by further breaking down the branches of the structure. The syntax of the language contains the rules which govern the structure of phrases and how these can be joined together. The structures and associated rules vary from one language to another.
Parsing diagrams are capable of representing not just one particular language’s grammar but are capable of representing any kind of grammar. For instance, they can be used to represent the rules of invented languages such as computer programming languages.
This method of representation is the one that I will use to represent musical structures because of the graphic nature of the representation and the flexibility of the approach. By this method, we can show the types of syntactic structures in music and show how they relate to each other by expending or contracting branches of the structure.
Examples of More Complex Syntactic Structures in language

1. Embedding
It is possible to construct sentences which are more complex than the example above. This is done by embedding further phrases within the basic structure. For example, in the sentence:
"The boy with red shorts kicked the ball."
"with red shorts" is a prepositional phrase that further describes “the boy” .
This can be represented, within the basic sentence structure, as follows:

Here we can see how the Prepositional Phrase (PP) “with red shorts” is embedded within the subject Noun Phrase (NP) so that the subject is subdivided into a Noun Phrase and Prepositional Phrase (PP). The Prepositional Phrase itself contains a further Noun Phrase. The parsing diagram clearly shows the hierarchical relationship between the sentence and its components. There are many other ways of extending this structure by embedding subordinate phrases at different parts of the basic structure.
2. Conjoining.
It is also possible to extend sentences by joining together complete structures or complete and incomplete structures, for example:
"The boy with red shorts kicked the ball and scored a goal"
The conjunction “and” joins together the complete sentence:
"The boy with red shorts kicked the ball"
and the verb phrase:
“scored a goal"
This could be represented as follows: