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By Noam Chomsky

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But this is not true in the case of (2). The grammar with its associated linguistic theory would achieve the still higher level of explanatory adequacy, in this case, if this linguistic theory were to provide a framework for phonological rules and an evaluation measure meeting the following condition: the most highly valued system of rules of the appropriate form selected to generate a set of items from which the variants of "telegraph" are excluded would be the system of rules that in fact predicts this contextual variation for "telegraph".

This configuration of possible interpretations is again a consequence of the constraint just noted, which permits application of (6) to a Noun Phrase within a Verbal Complement, but not to one within a Relative clause. Example (8) is perfectly typical. ," etc. The constraint that (6) may not reapply to a given string is thus necessary if the grammar is to achieve descriptive adequacy. Once again, to achieve the level of explanatory adequacy, we must find a principled basis, a general condition on the structure of any grammar, that will require that in the case of English the rule (6) must be so constrained.

Is not, and so on. There is no very satisfying answer to this question; data of this sort are simply what constitute the subject matter for linguistic theory. We neglect such data at the cost of destroying the subject. It is not that these introspective judgments are sacrosanct and beyond any conceivable doubt. On the contrary, their correctness can be challenged and supported in many ways, some quite indirect. Consistency among speakers of similar backgrounds, as well as for a particular speaker on different occasions, is relevant information.

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Current Issues in Linguistic Theory by Noam Chomsky

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