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ERIC Number: ED236672
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Analogizing from Generative Linguistics to Composition.
Beauvais, Paul J.; Parker, Frank
Interest in the application of modern linguistic theory in composition research has faded, possibly because some of the basic principles that inform linguistic study have been misunderstood. For example, a common misconception is that linguists use the term "generate" to mean "produce." However, the purpose of a generative grammar is to describe structures, not to produce them itself and not to explain the processes by which speakers produce structures. Also needing clarification are the ideas that (1) a generative grammar is a competence model, not a performance model; (2) a generative grammar should be restricted to a characterization of systematic phenomena; (3) a generative grammar should be explicit; and (4) a generative grammar should be revealing. The recent work of William Vande Kopple shows how composition researchers can appropriate basic linguistic principles for their own work. Using a competence model, Vande Kopple describes the reader's understanding of the system underlying information distribution in sentences. Although he shows how syntax can be manipulated to achieve an effective distribution of old and new information, his model is concerned primarily with the ordering of information rather than of sentence elements. Thus, Vande Kopple's work shows how composition researchers can employ successfully the principles that inform linguistic study. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Theory Practice Relationship
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (34th, Detroit, MI, March 17-19, 1983). Document may not reproduce well.