|Surface structure, linguistics: surface structure refers to the construction of a sentence, as it is directly accessible. For example, the division of a sentence into noun phrase (NP) and verbal phrase (VP) is visible in the surface structure. In contrast, the depth structure can only be obtained through analysis. See also depth structure, transformational grammar, universal grammar.|
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Surface Structure/Chomsky: finding a hierarchy of phrases that belong to certain categories: noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, etc. E.g. John is certain Bill wants to leave - John is certain to leave: similar surface structure, different deep structure.
Surface Structure/Chomsky: Assumption: it contributes nothing to the meaning - what contribution a term makes to the sentence, is adjusted by the deep structure (> compositionality) - ChomskyVsAnalytic Philosophy: if different intensions after substitution should change the meaning, there would have to be a corresponding difference in the deep structure, which is unlikely.
Aspekte der Syntaxtheorie Frankfurt 1978
Language and Mind Cambridge 2006