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generative grammar

an approach to linguistics in which the goal is to account for the infinite set of possible grammatical sentences in a language using a finite set of generative rules. Unlike earlier inductive approaches that set out to describe and draw inferences about grammar on the basis of a corpus of natural language, the theories of generative grammar developed by Noam Chomsky in the 1950s and 1960s took for their basic data the intuitions of native speakers about what is and is not grammatical (see competence; grammaticality). In taking this mentalist approach, Chomsky not only repudiated any behaviorist account of language use and acquisition but also revolutionized the whole field of linguistics, effectively redefining it as a branch of cognitive psychology. Much research in psycholinguistics has since focused on whether the various models suggested by generative grammar have psychological reality in the production and reception of language. See also finite-state grammar; government and binding theory; phrase-structure grammar; transformational generative grammar.

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Psychology term of the day

May 26th 2024



n. the provision of instruction, encouragement, and other support to an individual (e.g., student, youth, colleague) to aid his or her overall growth and development or pursuit of greater learning skills, a career, or other educational or work-related goals. Numerous mentoring programs exist within occupational, educational, and other settings; they use frequent communication and contact between mentors and their respective protégés as well as a variety of techniques and procedures to develop productive relationships.