generative grammar

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GENERATIVE GRAMMAR. A GRAMMAR which precisely specifies the membership of the set of all the grammatical sentences in the language in question and therefore excludes all the ungrammatical sentences. It takes the form of a set of rules that specifies the structure, interpretation, and pronunciation of sentences that native speakers of the language are considered to accept as belonging to the language; it is therefore regarded as representing native speakers' competence in or knowledge of their language. See CHOMSKY, COMPETENCE AND PERFORMANCE, GRAMMATICALITY, TRANSFORMATIONAL-GENERATIVE GRAMMAR.

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generative grammar A set of formal rules that projects a finite set of sentences upon the potentially infinite set of sentences that constitute the language as a whole; the term was originally introduced by Noam Chomsky (1957). Among models of generative grammar that have been investigated are finite-state, phrase-structure, and transformational grammars.