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surface structure

Syllabification: sur·face struc·ture

Definition of surface structure in English:

noun

(In generative grammar) the structure of a well-formed phrase or sentence in a language, as opposed to its underlying abstract representation. Contrasted with deep structure.
Example sentences
  • Possibly, the present verbal dual task interferes mostly with the phonological surface structure of the spatial sentence and not with the underlying propositional content.
  • That is, switching should occur at points where the surface structures of the two languages map onto each other.
  • 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.

Definition of surface structure in:

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