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Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown

Surface structure:

Term used by Noam Chomsky in his theory of generative-transformational grammar to distinguish the structure of a particular speech act (parole) from the "deep structure" or "base component" of the system of language that generates it. (See also Deep structure, Linguistics and literary theory.)

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
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University of Toronto English Library
Director: Ian Lancashire.
Last modified: March 31, 1997