«ПРОСВЕЩЕНИЕ. ИНОСТРАННЫЕ ЯЗЫКИ»

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COLOURLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY

Воскресенье 8 Январь 2012

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редактор: Natassa Manitsa
Natassa Manitsa holds a BA in Educational Psychology from the University of Athens, Greece and a Diploma in Translation and British Studies from the Institute of Linguists, London, England. She has worked as a teacher, a teacher trainer, a director of studies, an author and translator for more than 15 years. She has travelled extensively, delivering seminars and workshops all over Europe and the Middle East. For the last five years she is the Head of the ELT Consultants Department in Express Publishing and the Chief Editor of the ELT Teacher’s Corner site of Express Publishing — http://www.teachers-corner.co.uk

ключевые слова: grammar rules, Noam Chomsky, true or false, tenses, Samuel Johnson, Grammarway, George Bernard Shaw

A FEW THOUGHTS ON GRAMMAR

Is the sentence at the top of the page grammatically correct? Well, it follows the rules about combining words (adjectives + noun + verb + adverb) in the right way, but does it mean anything? Something cannot be both colourless and green. It’s hard to imagine sleeping furiously (unless you are violently tossing and turning in the bed). Can an idea sleep? The only possible meaningful paraphrase I can think of is something along
the lines of: dull ecological ideas don’t result in action, despite all the angry talk. But taken literally, Chomsky’s famous sentence is lacking in the second part of a definition of grammar, which is that the correctly combined words should form acceptable units of meaning within a language. The form must have a function. So, you can be perfectly grammatical but say nothing meaningful. (And vice versa.)

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