Lecture 4

Language is for communication instruction other social

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Unformatted text preview: hanks to Chomsky   No matter what you think of the details of this approach, we should be grateful to Chomsky   Brought language to prominence as a cognitive function—about 1/4 of talks at the Cognitive Science Society Conference , or in the journal Cognitive Science are about language (though a vanishingly small number are in any way Chomskian)   Brought formal rigor to the study of grammar   Brought the view of language as a cognitive function that can be studied George Lakoff Some Guy Chomskyan Grammar problems 1.  The study of language is the study of grammaticality   Grammaticality is hard to define non ­circularly ▪  Many people use grammaticality judgments. But they’re not ideal ▪  Conflate grammar, conventionality, meaning, pragmatics, use, context ▪  Ask for an opinion, so they invite meta ­linguistic processing ▪  Can't be direct reflections of grammatical knowledge, because of the competence ­performance distinction, discussed below ▪  As a result, Chomskians often disregard grammaticality judgments that disagree with predictions of their grammars. Thus grammaticality is defined as whether a sentence is produced by a grammar or not. Circular. Chomskyan Grammar problems 1.  The study of language is the study of grammaticality   Grammaticality is an artificial measure of language, unrelated to its actual function and use.   Language is for communication, instruction, other social purposes.   Studying language through grammaticality judgments is like studying running by asking people about what they think about how they run. Why not study the behavior directly? Chomskyan Grammar problems 2.  The study of language is not embedded in the study of language use   They study sentences extracted from their linguistic, physical, social, and cognitive context, and build theories to explain why sentences are grammatical or not independent of the individuals actually using language or mechanisms of language   Akin to studying running independent of human physiology or physics or actual running, instead. To explain lots of the properties of running, you’d have to build in ad hoc...
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