Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4169
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9927
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I provide a critical survey of the role that semantics took in the several models of generative grammar, since the 1950s until the Minimalist Program. I distinguish four different periods. In the first section, I focus on the role of formal semantics in generative grammar until the 1970s. In Section 2 I present the period of linguistic wars, when the role of semantics in linguistic theory became a crucial topic of debate. In Section 3 I focus on the formulation of conditions on transformations and Binding Theory in the 1970s and 1980s, while in the last Section I discuss the role of semantics in the minimalist approach. In this section, I also propose a semantically-based model of generative grammar, which fully endorses minimalism and Chomsky’s later position concerning the primary role of the semantic interface in the Universal Grammar modelization (Strong Minimalist Thesis). In the Discussion, I point out some theoretical problems deriving from Chomsky’s internalist interpretation of model-theoretic semantics.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): deep structure; logical form; minimalist program; semantic markers; theta-theory
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