Re: Deconstructing Deep Structure

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Sun May 25 1997 - 01:00:27 EDT

At 11:31 AM +0000 5/24/97, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
>Deconstructing Deep Structure
>The title of this post is more provocative than the question. Richard
>A. Young in his Greek Grammar uses a phrase regularly which I would
>like to have defined.
>The phrase is of the form: *In the objective genitive, the genitive
>represents a deep structure object . . .* (p31).

Young is using the phrase 'deep structure' in a way that Chomsky did not
intend it, but a school of linguistics which was very strong in the late
60s and the 70s did use it. He (aparently) sees the noun and its
accompanying objective genitive as being a transformation of a verb and its
object at the grammatical level which this school of linguistics called
'deep structure'. What that meant in practical terms was that it had the
same set of semantic relationships as a verb with its object, so your
rewording (see below) is probably fair.
>Is it fair or accurate to reword this: *An objective genitive
>functions in it's context as an object*?

>I am not trying to start an argument about terminology here. I am just
>trying to decode what is for me a rather obfuscatious phrase.

It is also a very outdated phrase. The school of Generative Semantics,
which used the phrase in the way that Young seems to be using it, is no
more. Subsequent versions of Generative Grammar have argued strongly
*against* seeing noun phrases as being derived from underlying (deep
structure) verb phrases.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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