MINIMALISM: A BREAKTHROUGH AND CONTINUITY
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Noam Chomsky's Minimalist Programme (MP) has for over a decade been the mainstream of the theory of Generative Grammar (GG). Its defining commitment is to reduce the description to the 'virtual conceptual necessity' in characterising the Language Faculty, a mental organ. The role of grammar is to provide a pair of formal linguistic representations known as PF (phonetic form) and LF (logical form) which would be legible for two external human systems; intentional-conceptual and articulatory-perceptual. The MP has developed from earlier generative paradigms, but the transition is more revolutionary than evolutionary with respect to its core domain, i.e. the mode of syntactic derivation. Some fundamental concepts of earlier models such as D-structure and government have been abandoned. At the same time, the MP maintains (with only slight modifications) GG's earlier philosophical and methodological commitments to (methodological) naturalism, realism, computationalism, nativism, rationalism, modularity and autonomy. The MP has interesting implications for the theories of language evolution and language use, specifically in raising the question of the optimal design of Language Faculty for meeting the requirements of external systems.
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