Conditions on Transformations

Conditions on Transformations

Conditions on Transformations is an influential linguistics article by Noam Chomsky, published in 1973[1]. In it, Chomsky attempted to formulate constraints on transformational rules used in Transformational Generative Grammar (TGG), a new kind of syntactic theory that Chomsky first proposed in the 1950s. These constraints, or "conditions", helped decrease the number of possible generative grammars, with a goal to account for the process of language acquisition in children.

Chomsky's attempt to greatly constrain the power of transformational rules found a common ground with a new generation of Generativist linguists in Europe, as evidenced by the quote below:

In our opinion, generative linguistics acquired a new momentum in Europe after Chomsky's Conditions on Transformations (1973). This epoch-making paper shifted the interest of linguists from rather arbitrary rules to simple well-constrained rules operating under general conditions. A significant number of members of GLOW have found their common ground in the research programme that grew out of Conditions.



  1. ^ Chomsky 1973
  2. ^ The GLOW manifesto


  • Chomsky, Noam (1973), "Conditions on Transformations", in Anderson and Kiparsky, A Festschrift for Morris Halle, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, pp. 232–286 
Filmography Family
William Chomsky · Carol Chomsky · Aviva Chomsky

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