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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Deep Structure

Filed under: General,Geometry — Tags: , — m759 @ 10:18 AM

The concept of "deep structure," once a popular meme,
has long been abandoned by Chomskians.

It still applies, however, to the 1976 mathematics, diamond theory  ,
underlying the formal patterns discussed in a Royal Society paper
this year.

A review of deep structure, from the Wikipedia article Cartesian linguistics

[Numbers in parentheses refer to pages in the original 1966 Harper edition of Chomsky's book Cartesian Linguistics .]

Deep structure vs. surface structure

"Pursuing the fundamental distinction between body and mind, Cartesian linguistics characteristically assumes that language has two aspects" (32). These are namely the sound/character of a linguistic sign and its significance (32). Semantic interpretation or phonetic interpretation may not be identical in Cartesian linguistics (32). Deep structures are often only represented in the mind (a mirror of thought), as opposed to surface structures, which are not.

Deep structures vary less between languages than surface structures. For instance, the transformational operations to derive surface forms of Latin and French may obscure common features of their deep structures (39). Chomsky proposes, "In many respects, it seems to me quite accurate, then, to regard the theory of transformational generative grammar, as it is developing in current work, as essentially a modern and more explicit version of the Port-Royal theory" (39).

Summary of Port Royal Grammar

The Port Royal Grammar is an often cited reference in Cartesian Linguistics  and is considered by Chomsky to be a more than suitable example of Cartesian linguistic philosophy. "A sentence has an inner mental aspect (a deep structure that conveys its meaning) and an outer, physical aspect as a sound sequence"***** This theory of deep and surface structures, developed in Port Royal linguistics, meets the formal requirements of language theory. Chomsky describes it in modern terms as "a base system that generates deep structures and a transformational system that maps these into surface structures", essentially a form of transformational grammar akin to modern studies (42).

The corresponding concepts from diamond theory are

"Deep structure"— The line diagrams indicating the underlying
structure of varying patterns

"A base system that generates deep structures"—
Group actions on square arrays for instance, on the 4×4 square

"A transformational system"— The decomposition theorem 
that maps deep structure into surface structure (and vice-versa)

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