Houjun Liu

transformational generative syntax

the transformational generative syntax is a linguistical precept proposed by Noam Chomsky which has the interesting conclusion that meaning is supported by structure, rather than the other way around as generative semantics suggests.

This means that you can first come up with generic, independent structure to a sentence, then fill in the sentence with meaning.

For instance, “colorless green ideas sleep furiously” is a sentence Noam Chomsky proposes to have perfect structure but failes to be filled with meaning, supporting the transformational generative syntax theory.

This supports the Lexicalist Hypothesis, which is the theory that lexicalization transformations are independent of structural transformations. This would therefore support the proof for the existence of semantic primes.