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10 votes

Sapir-Whorf vs. Chomsky

Let's start at the end. It is impossible to talk about original theories in this context. There was actually no cohesive formulation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. That is a label assigned later to a ...
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10 votes
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Intuitive English example of why linguists think natural language grammar is stronger than CFL?

I don't personally believe that CFL are insufficient, but among linguists who care about weak generative capacity (probably most don't care about the issue), the consensus seems to be that they are. ...
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8 votes

What is the essence of the dispute between Wolfe and Chomsky?

It's complex at first but there's very little controversy to be found. Noam Chomsky is a linguist and political activist famous for revolutionizing the study of all areas of linguistics via ...
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8 votes
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To what extent was Chomsky influenced by Tesnière?

I do not think that Chomsky ever cited Tesnière in a meaningful way, because if he had, we would know about it. I state this as the main translator of Tesnière's work Elements of structural syntax ...
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7 votes

What is the essence of the dispute between Wolfe and Chomsky?

Chomsky's argument for the Universal Grammar: Children pick up language quickly because of a Language Acquisition Device (LAD). While the LAD is hypothetical, Chomsky believes it to be innate and a ...
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7 votes
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Where to start if you want to do Chomsky style NLP?

I hadn't heard the term "statistical theory (of language)", but it seems to be a misnomer. I gather from your references that you take some data and use it to estimate the parameters of some ...
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6 votes

Why does there seem to be so much disagreement among linguists?

Actually, there's no more disagreement among linguists than among experts in other disciplines, if you compare like with like (in as much as this can be quantified). You just have to look at exactly ...
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6 votes

Resources to Chomsky's Universal Grammar

Given your background in mathematical logic, I'd say that there isn't any better place to learn about Chomsky's contributions than by reading Chomsky himself. If you want to chart the development of ...
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  • 1,667
6 votes

What is the best introduction to Chomskyan linguistics?

The current generative (Chomskyan) approach to syntax is known as the minimalist program. If you want a rigorous introduction to this formalism, you should check Understanding Minimalism (2005) by ...
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5 votes

Where did the discussion of the language faculty between Fitch, Hauser, Chomsky and Pinker and Jackendoff terminate?

The debate ended in 2005. Shortly after this, Chomsky (2005/2008 (written in 2005, and circulated, published in 2008) wrote On Phases which did not acknowledge anything from his previous papers co-...
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  • 311
5 votes
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Question on move operation

First, let me get the usual caveats out of the way: MP is a program, not a theory. It tells you what kinds of questions to ask about syntax, and guides you in comparing the answers from competing ...
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5 votes

Is Wikipedia's argument for Universal Grammar completely fallacious?

Beginning with your very last parenthesized question, does "this" refer to the argument you quote from Wikipedia or the argument you yourself make that begins with "however"? And why does that ...
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5 votes

Critics and arguments against the generative syntax theories?

The best argument I've encountered against generative syntax is that made in C.F. Hockett's State of the Art. Personally, I don't subscribe to it, but you may find it persuasive. Hockett compares ...
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4 votes
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Functionalism vs Formalism?

It's hard to nail down a scientific difference between functionalist and formalist approaches, because the goals and domains of investigation are usually disjoint. If you want some opposite ends of ...
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4 votes
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Why do 'wonder' and 'think' act differently in wh-movement?

Wonder takes an embedded interrogative complement with its own internal trace: You wonder who John saw t. You wonder who t saw John. You wonder why I left t. When you front that wh- you're ...
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4 votes
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Is generative grammar a theory or an approach?

My impression is that generative grammar is viewed by some grammarians as a Lakotosian 'research program(me)', not as a 'refutable "theory"'. I am not a generative grammarian (or any kind of ...
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4 votes

Is generative grammar a theory or an approach?

'Generative Grammar' is an ill defined term. You will find linguists using it to mean 'Chomskian Grammar', and linguist who think it can also refer to certain construction grammars. You mention that ...
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4 votes
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( New formulation) Are parts of speech syntactic categories? ( A question on generative grammer)

To my understanding, it's the other way around. According to generativists, syntactic categories are a fundamental part of the mental grammar of a language. When you learn a new lemma, like "purple", ...
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3 votes

Sapir-Whorf vs. Chomsky

I think you've got it the other way round. "Chomskyan" theory of UG is much more of a claim about "the brain", which (in humans) has specific machinery for language. The idea is that the language is ...
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3 votes

How was De Saussure's Langue and Parole different from Chomsky's Competence and Performance?

The main difference is probably that Chomsky's competence is a purely individual notion: it's the linguistic knowledge of a single speaker-hearer. Saussure's langue, by contrast, is not a property of ...
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3 votes

Can 'a system of rules that assigns [...] meaning in a definite way' be replaced with 'semantics'?

Chomsky (in this passage) defines universal grammar as "a system of rules that assigns sound and meaning in a definite way for an infinite class of possible sentences." He writes that it (=universal ...
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3 votes

What is the x-bar tree of 'I am proud of my students'? (having trouble with proud)

(Disclaimer: I am not a specialist in Syntax) According to the X-bar Theory, Adjectives, as any other lexical category, undergo three different levels of projection. They can have Complements (which ...
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3 votes

Is generative grammar a theory or an approach?

It's an approach, not a theory (IMO, naturally). In Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (where "generative grammar" was first given currency, Chomsky likens the relationship of a grammar to the sentences ...
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3 votes

( New formulation) Are parts of speech syntactic categories? ( A question on generative grammer)

Generative grammar emerged most directly from formalism (and see formalism in mathematics). I'm not saying that Noam Chomsky is a formalist, but in his early work from the 50s, it is clear that in ...
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3 votes

Saussure and Modern Linguistics

There is a difference between "Chomsky" and "modern linguistics". Chomsky is the founder of an influential school of modern linguistics, but there are other schools of modern ...
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2 votes

Can 'a system of rules that assigns [...] meaning in a definite way' be replaced with 'semantics'?

No. Here is some examples. "A system of rules that assigns […] meaning in a definite way is known as 'semantics'" cannot be changed to "Semantics is known as 'semantics'". Also, anybody who says "I'm ...
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2 votes

Chomsky's Syntactic Structures: Why is {a^n b^n : n ∈ ℕ} not a finite state language?

You can find a somewhat detailed, yet informal discussion of this topic in Chapter 5 of Isac and Reiss 2008/2013 I-Language: An Introduction to Linguistics as Cogntive Science. (I am one of the ...
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2 votes

Chomsky's Syntactic Structures: Why is {a^n b^n : n ∈ ℕ} not a finite state language?

TL;DR: in a proper finite-state language, you only need finite memory to determine whether an arbitrary pattern is valid or not. This language requires you to remember how many as have been ...
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  • 53.2k
2 votes

What is the essence of the dispute between Wolfe and Chomsky?

Here is my summary (drawn from reviews of Wolfe's book -- I didn't read it). A correct view of this question about the nature of language would have to emerge from exposure to facts in the field. ...
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