Generative linguistics includes a set of explanatory theories developed by Noam Chomsky in the 1960s. It opposes the behaviourist theory and structuralism.
Generative theory is distinguished from other traditions by distinguishing competence and performance, which distinguishes in the act of speech its linguistic capacity. Thus, under this approach, each speaker has a linguistic organ specialized in the analysis and production of complex structures forming the speech. In other words, every language form an observable structure, result of an innate system (read "genetic"), and universally shared. It is therefore necessary, according to this school of thought, to understand the structure of this system and its behavior.