Questions tagged [chomsky]

An American linguist who founded the field of Generative Linguistics.

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Saussure and Modern Linguistics

To my knowledge, Chomsky and most other modern linguists rarely ever mention Saussure. Do they still agree that language is an arbitrary and differential system? If not, what happened exactly that ...
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Is there any connection between formalism and generativism [closed]

Is generativism originated from formalism? How formalism is related to linguistics
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To what extent was Chomsky influenced by Tesnière?

Kind of a question about the meta-history of linguistics as a discipline. Chomsky released 'Syntactic Structures' in the US in 1957; Tesnière released Éléments de syntaxe structurale posthumously ...
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What limitations of generative grammar was Lakoff referring to?

In his keynote address in 2015, George Lakoff said the following (at 22:10) The whole idea of generative grammar fell apart. There were things that you could not do with it. Even if it was ...
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Kayne on Conjunctions and Chomsky's Labelling Algorithm

I'm reading on coordination structures in relation to Chomsky's proposal of the Labelling Algorithm and stumbled upon Kayne (1994) The Antisymmetry of Syntax. In it, Kayne takes the view that ...
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What does this quote by Chomsky mean?

“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied.”
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Critics and arguments against the generative syntax theories?

The Generative approach on syntax is very elegant, useful and very complete as far as I can see. I think that, as all theories have, there must have some critics on it. But I don't know where to find ...
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Is Wikipedia's argument for Universal Grammar completely fallacious?

Wikipedia's article about Chomsky makes the following argument for Universal Grammar: For example, although children are exposed to only a very small and finite subset of the allowable syntactic ...
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Where to start if you want to do Chomsky style NLP?

I am a computer science grad who has been fascinated by Chomsky's theory of language. I have been following his work and the others in his field. But I also want to try something on my own. The ...
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Why would French fit science, and English fit literature?

I happened upon this on r/asklinguistics that, being 9 months old, has time-barred comments. I've a shade rectified some mistakes and rewritten it. Noam Chomsky, in some interview, said that ...
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( New formulation) Are parts of speech syntactic categories? ( A question on generative grammer)

I only have a rudimentary ( or even less than rudimentary) knowledge of generative grammar. But what strikes me is that the sentence formation rules are coinded using parts of speech. For example ( ...
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Question on move operation

I'm learning about minimalism at the moment. I'm not sure if I understand the move operation. I think I understand that in English the move operation takes place when you want to formulate a question....
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Phonology: Exemplars vs. Abstract Phoneme Theory

I have come across an essay title asking us to critique the evidence of language being processed as either “abstract phonemes” or “surface exemplars”. (Specifically in phonology) Is this a rewording ...
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How do generativists account for apparent diachronic processes that cause errors in linguistic performance to become cemented as competence?

Many diachronic processes of language change appear to derive from synchronic errors in linguistic performance. How do generativists account for this if performance and competence are separate? If ...
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English Stress and Rule Based Accounts SPE Chomsky/Halle

Is the following morpho-syntactic representation of the below phrase using brackets correct? Long Bike Ride And subsequently, would the below cyclically applied rules showing the resulting stress ...
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Is generative grammar a theory or an approach?

I am trying to understand the first sentence of Wikipedia's page on generative grammar: Generative grammar is a linguistic theory that regards grammar as a system of rules that generates exactly ...
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'there' vs 'it' expletive insertion

These are my conditions for detecting an expletive position: if spec IP has been assigned non 'null' Case and is not theta marked. However, after this I struggle to choose between 'it' and 'there'. ...
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Why does 'seem' behave differently?

Mary seems[ t to be here] Mary tried [PRO to be here] Why can't Mary be generated in spec VP of 'seems' but can in 'tried'? Instead it looks like it works more like a passive verb: Mary is believed ...
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How do we explain the fact that agreement comes from the object with 'there'?

For example: There is a man. There are men. How do we explain that agreement of the verb comes from the object in this case alone? What movement happens in the verb complex of the xbar tree of the ...
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Case assignment with prepositions

Consider these examples: 'I am happy with my parents' my parents gets assigned Case by 'with'. *'I am proud with my parents' My question is as follows: What is the reasoning for 2 being ...
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Why do 'wonder' and 'think' act differently in wh-movement?

For instance: Object moving: Who do you think that John saw t? (correct) *Who do you wonder that John saw t? (incorrect) Subject moving: Who do you think t saw John? (correct) *Who do you wonder t ...
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How do you coreference a possesive pronouns with an x-bar tree?

Following Chomsky's linguistic theory (The Minimalist Program), r-expressions must be free, where free means that nothing should c-command it such that the indices have a non null intersection (if I ...
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How do you assign Case to sentences with an infinitval clause?

Look at this example: For the butler to attack the robber would be surprising. Here, the butler and the robber are assigned accusative Case. Is 'For' assigning case to the butler and 'to attack' ...
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What is the x-bar tree of 'I am proud of my students'? (having trouble with proud)

I am having trouble attaching the 'proud' to the 'am'. 'Am' is a verb and 'proud' is an adjective for the noun 'I', so should come as an adjunct for 'I', but here it would have to somehow come from ...
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Why is it that the wh-word as a subject in the spec position cannot raise over an auxiliary verb like 'did'?

When the question word is the subject of the clause, there is no aux verb, eg 'Who saw you?'. I understand this, but why is 'who did see you?' also correct, with respect to Chomsky's linguistic theory ...
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Transitive nouns (and adjectives) evidences from early Indo-Aryan languages

I search info and explanations about "transitive nouns", I didn't read Chomsky yet. I know he talks about "transitive nouns". Transitivity is typically thought of as a property of verbs, and ...
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semantics of bizarre usages in view of a second-language-speaker

Generative tradition, as far as I (an amateur) understand, revolves around the 'poverty of the stimulus' argument. So I can understand why I clearly get the meaning 'she shelved her books' or at ...
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Did Chomsky made the first generalization of coordination?

If not then who? And maybe someone can suggest a good book of history of English linguistics? Can't find myself. Thanks!
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Basic background reading request [closed]

I've stumbled onto "The Science of Language: Interviews with James McGilvray" and it's great but I'm almost entirely ignorant about the field of linguistics. I've never come across any of the jargon ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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Intuitive English example of why linguists think natural language grammar is stronger than CFL?

I have a decent understanding of regular languages, CFLs and r.e. sets from a course in computer science theory. I'm just learning about the Chomsky hierarchy. As an English speaker, I have a ...
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Where can I find the mentioned More than one Method article?

Chomsky mentions an article that I have never taken a look at in his talk at the University of Arizona "What is Special About Language?". I've seen "Without Social Context?" but I've never seen the ...
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Chomsky's Syntactic Structures: Why is {a^n b^n : n ∈ ℕ} not a finite state language?

In (10) (i) of Chomsky's Syntactic Strucures (1957), the set of sentences of a specific language is defined as ab, aabb, aaabbb, ..., and in general, all sentences consisting of n occurrences of ...
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3 votes
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Introduction in generative grammar

My name is Antonio, and I'm an undergraduate student at one of the many colleges that are focusing on language. I'm mainly studying the English language, and this is my first year of studying concepts ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Principles and Parameters: projectionist?

The question/problem I have is related to the way recent generative approaches focus on the Lexicon and Syntax. I would like to know if Principles and Parameters can be considered a projectionist ...
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Difference between Type 0 and Type 1 in the Chomsky hierarchy

i am the beginner in linguistics and i have little problem with understanding Chomsky hierarchy. So i have grammar like this: P = {K -> KL,aK->abK,...} In my opinion, it is not third or second ...
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What is the essence of the dispute between Wolfe and Chomsky?

I read the report in Sunday's Observer concerning the dispute between Tom Wolfe (author Kingdom of Speech) and Noam Chomsky (professor emeritus Massachusetts Institute of Technology) over their ...
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3 votes
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How was De Saussure's Langue and Parole different from Chomsky's Competence and Performance?

Ferdinan De Sassure has proposed Langue and Parole long before Chomsky proposed his Competence and Performance system of linguistic knowledge? I know that they are different but how?
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Did Chomsky adress Multiword Expressions?

I am not aware of a discussion/definition of multi word expressions by Chomsky? As there exist plethora of "synonyms" (to keep it easy lets state they are synonyms) including compounds, frozen ...
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Can 'a system of rules that assigns [...] meaning in a definite way' be replaced with 'semantics'?

Source: An Introduction to Language (10 ed, 2014) by V Fromkin, R Rodman, N Hyams. I, and not the book, bolded. [p 7:] A person who knows a language has mastered [1.] a system of rules ...
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1 vote
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Does lack of a common (morpho-)phonological alternation make a word a lexical exception?

I am trying to understand the following passages from The Sound Pattern of English, by Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle. Convention 1: : Every segment of a lexical matrix is automatically marked [+n] ...
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Understanding Symbols in Chomsky's *Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory*

I've been reading Chomsky's The Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory, and have come up rather suddenly against a stumbling block. On page 133, he uses without explanation some notation that's ...
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Did Chomsky originate the term "rewrite rule"?

The earliest mention of the term "rewrite rule" that I am able to find - in the context of phrase structure grammars - is in Chomsky's "Syntactic Structures" (1957). Did he originate the term?
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5 votes
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Sapir-Whorf vs. Chomsky

Can somebody let me know if this is a reasonable explanation for how the two theories are similar and different? This is not for homework, I'm just try to understand the difference, and my textbook ...
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What is the best introduction to Chomskyan linguistics?

Although my main interest is historical lingustics, I would also like to get a hint of the modern studies of syntax and generative grammar, and as far as I know, Chomsky is currently the most ...
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Opinions on Principles and Parameters Theory [closed]

I'm curious about your opinions on Principles and Parameters Theory. Do you consider it possible or rather you think that it is impossible that our grammar was structured that way. I appreciate any ...
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Where did the discussion of the language faculty between Fitch, Hauser, Chomsky and Pinker and Jackendoff terminate?

Many of you may be familiar with the debate between FHC and PJ on the language faculty. The "discussion", which became quite heated, first appeared as PJ's response to an article in Science that was ...
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Functionalism vs Formalism?

I'm trying to really understand the difference between linguistic functionalism and formalism, but I can't find any good concrete examples of either. From what I can tell, functionalism is a sort of ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Resources to Chomsky's Universal Grammar

I need a list of resources to Chomsky's theory of universal grammar and generative grammar that help me from zero to recent-research level [I myself do formal mathematical logic and am not totally ...
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2 answers
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Is a sentence's deep structure representative of i-language?

That is to say, is the deep structure supposed to be what's happening in our head when we speak a language? Or is this just to make our model of a grammar consistent?
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2 votes
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Syntactic representation of Across-the-board Extraction

I am reading a book on Government and Binding theory [1] and just finished a chapter on big pro (PRO). At the end of the chapter there is an exercise. Different sentences are written with faulty ...
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