Definition of deep structure in English:

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deep structure

Pronunciation: /ˈdēp ˌstrək(t)SHər/


(In generative grammar) the abstract representation of the syntactic structure of a sentence. Contrasted with surface structure.
Example sentences
  • The theory postulates that the two sentences have the same order in deep structure, but the question transformation changes the order to that in surface structure.
  • Chomsky's initial proposals, in Syntactic Structures and Aspects, had distinguished between the surface structure of a sentence and the deep structure, from which the surface structure is derived by transformations.
  • This would have to be the mythical deep structure of linguistics.
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