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Global Rules

George Lakoff
Language
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Sep., 1970), pp. 627-639
DOI: 10.2307/412310
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/412310
Page Count: 13
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Global Rules
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Abstract

During the past five years it has become clear that phrase structure rules and transformations provide a grossly inadequate characterization of the notion 'rule of grammar'. The problem is this: phrase structure rules and transformations are local; they define well-formedness conditions on individual phrase-markers and on paris of successive phrase-markers. However, certain rules of grammar are global in nature; they extend over entire derivations, or parts of derivations, and cannot be stated in full generality (if at all) by local operations. I have proposed that rules of grammar be considered as well-formedness conditions on derivations (or 'derivational constraints'). In the most general case, rules of grammar will be global in nature. Phrase structure rules and transformations turn out to be special cases of derivational constraints. From the point of view of linguistic description, the theory of derivational constraints is as much an innovation over transformational grammar as transformational grammar was over phrase structure grammar. In this paper a few of the phenomena that require the postulation of global derivational constraints will be considered. Some of these are purely syntactic in nature; others involve the interaction of syntax and phonology. The cases that involve the interaction of syntax and semantic representations are not considered here, nor is the formal characterization of such constraints included.

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