Grammar/semantics – form/meaning

In one of his books, the famous linguist Noam Chomsky (2002, p. 15) coined the following sentence:

Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Is the meaning of each individual word understandable? Why? Is the grammatical structure of the sentence correct? Why?

What does this sentence tell us about the role of grammar? What about the role of semantics?

References
Chomsky, A.N. (2002). Syntactic structures (2nd ed.). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Iaroslav

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2 Comments

  1. Here is another well-known example from Russian:

    Гло́кая ку́здра ште́ко будлану́ла бо́кра и курдя́чит бокрёнка (Glokaya kuzdra shteko budlanula bokra i kurdiachit bokrenka).

    The original sentence is not well documented, but is believed to be as or similar to the sentence above. It was coined by the famous linguist Lev Scherba.

    References
    Uspensky, L. (1962). Slovo o slovakh. Leningrad: Lenizdat.

Trackbacks

  1. ARTICLE: “COLORLESS GREEN IDEAS SLEEP FURIOUSLY” | euzicasa

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