Generative grammar around 1980 The aim of this paper is to put into interaction Chomsky's methodological claims with his descriptive propositions. §1 presents in compact form Chomsky's methodological positions and in particular Rules and Representations. §2 examines Filters and Control, firstly the control problem and then, systematically, nearly all the filters proposed by Chomsky and Lasnik for English grammar. The main results are the absence of explicative power in all cases and very disturbing descriptive results as regards filters: they suppose different conditions on trace sensivity to them. On Binding is revised in §3 and particularly in relation to Filters and Control. Descriptive results are also disturbing here: they concern structures of obligatory control and embedded infinitive phrases. The Case filter is not a sufficient enough device and filters of the Filters and Control type are always required. Binding conditions on each other leave many unresolved examples. It is claimed (§4) that there is no such permissive notion of counter-examples capable of justifying the detected descriptive problems. Chomsky an hypotheses change, but it is impossible to say if they improve.
Published online: 01 January 1985