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surface structure

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noun Linguistics. (in transformational-generative grammar)
  1. a structural representation of the final syntactic form of a sentence, as it exists after the transformational component has modified a deep structure.Compare deep structure.
  2. the string of words that is actually produced.
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Origin of surface structure

First recorded in 1960–65
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for surface structure

surface structure

noun
  1. generative grammar a representation of a string of words or morphemes as they occur in a sentence, together with labels and brackets that represent syntactic structureCompare deep structure
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Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012