About language universals
Thread poster: Jacek Krankowski
| | Uldis Liepkalns
Local time: 14:10
English to Latvian
| Re: About language universals || Jan 25, 2003 |
On 2003-01-25 18:03, jacek wrote:
Noam Chomsky\'s name has been mentioned in several other threads. I was impressed by his language universals theory back in the 1970s when I was working on my thesis in generative phonology. More about the language universals:
Noam Chomsky is a distinguished professor of
For reasons known only to you, you neglected to mention invaluable contribution to linguistics made by Carl Marx, Joseph Jugashvilli and the rest of the pack...
On 2003-01-25 21:27, uldis wrote:
For reasons known only to you, you neglected to mention invaluable
contribution to linguistics made by Carl Marx, Joseph Jugashvilli and the
rest of the pack...
Luckily, Chomsky\'s contribution to linguistics, when it was made, could be
easily separated from his contribution to ideology, which seems not to be
the case of the forefathers you mention. Still, not everybody being aware
of their successes in the field, perhaps you could quote some examples of
their linguistic thinking, for purely historical purposes?
Although Chomsky\'s original transformational-generative grammar project was
abandoned, the idea itself of language universals is very much alive.
For instance the Department of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut
advertises its Ph.D. Program as follows: \"Syntax. Working within the
framework of Chomskian transformational-generative grammar, we are concerned
with the syntactic structure of human language. Through detailed
investigation of particular languages, we seek to discover the basic
structural properties of language in general, and the parametric ways in
which languages can differ. Among our major interests are syntactic
universals, the interaction of syntax and semantics, and the formal
properties of syntactic systems. This work is directed at such questions as
how knowledge of grammaticality and sentence relatedness is represented, and
what the constraints on human language are that make it possible for a child
to acquire such knowledge.\"
Let this be just one reason why Chomsky who once opened a \"window on the
mind\" is still so often quoted in the field of linguistics, contrary to the
names brought up by you.
P.S. Chomsky, in a documentary
on his life and work, stated that, although he has sought a connection
between his linguistic theory
and his political activism, which centers on manipulation of public opinion
by the press, he has found
[ This Message was edited by:on2003-01-26 12:06]
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| | Uldis Liepkalns
Local time: 14:10
English to Latvian
The pack I mentioned, undoubtfuly, has influenced languages as such much more than Chomsky ever will. Also, they have expressed their infallible views on all things imaginable, save coupling habits of elephants. In this respect honorable Chomsky is doing his best to catch up, but he stands no chance…
But, if seriously, I have allergy to all things from pink to red, and therefore theses things include Mr. Chomsky. I have read much from him (had to), came to conclusion, that he is unscrupulous demagogue (from which follows that he despises his readers, judging them to be brainless fools, unable to think for themselves), just in the best traditions of his ideological forefathers.
| | kterelak
Local time: 13:10
English to Polish
| Chomsky 20 years later || Jan 26, 2003 |
You would be truly surprised if you could see what Chomsky and his followers came up with in the late 1990\'s when I struggled with my MA thesis on Chomsky and his ideas, this time in syntax. I was not sure whether it was still linguistics or perhaps we dealt with some new programming language. Anyway at that time I was impressed by the complexity and elegance of his theory.
| Chomsky's limitations || Jan 26, 2003 |
And I am now talking about Chomsky the linguist, not the dissident. In the last link I provided above, in the context of machine translation, they say: \"Chomsky\'s solution is unsatisfactory since it does not allow for fundamental ambiguity.\" [In fact, his language universals did not even allow for language-specific parameters, if I remember correctly.] \"We need a flexible grounding of language that allows for social interaction at the core of language... [B]efore computers will have a chance of performing as well as humans on
dynamic general language, they will at least have to avoid the assumptions of objectivism, allow for fundamental ambiguity, handle dynamic metaphor, become much more flexible, and become an
agent, recognizing other people as agents (which involves being based on a non-algorithmic approach)... [F]urther work on fully-automatic high-quality machine translation of unrestricted text is a waste of time and money unless the issues in this paper are carefully addressed. If we ever reach a breakthrough in natural language processing which allows for the handling of dynamic general language, it will not be based on any extension of current techniques in machine translation. The electric light bulb did not result from research and development on the candle... Fully-automatic high-quality machine translation of unrestricted text will be a truly surprising, unpredictable
breakthrough and therefore is not expected in the foreseeable future, even though it may come at any time...
We should not complain about the heavy requirements I have imposed on an approach that could handle general language at human levels of performance. In 1984, many of us reviewed the vision of the world presented by George Orwell in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and were thankful that things were not as bad as he had predicted, at least outside the Soviet Bloc in the Free World. I had occasional contact with people on the other side of the Iron Curtain
and heard horror stories of oppression heaped upon those who dared think on their own in a way that opposed the government then in power.\" [By the way, uldis, when Chomsky talks about \"Manufacturing Consent,\" he precisely means the Soviet-style manipulation.] \"In Orwell\'s world, the Party had invented Newspeak, a deliberately restricted language in which it was impossible to think thoughts that
were not approved by the Party. Now ten years later, we have seen the Iron Curtain fall. If all language suddenly could be treated like domain-specific language, then a new and far worse Iron Curtain would, in Orwellian fashion, forever keep us from thinking truly new thoughts and we would become machines trapped in the prison of objectivism.\"
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| | OlafK
Local time: 12:10
English to German
| Could the moderator please stop this rant? || Jan 28, 2003 |
It is obviously about politics and not about linguistics -- and very offensive.
On 2003-01-28 01:34, uldis wrote:
1) I gather, you, though of Polish name, speak of yourself as of being \"the
other side of the Iron curtain\". That explains a lot. Including your
2) You are calling Chomsky a \"dissident\". Dissident to what
3) he deems his readers stupid animals, incapable of thinking at all.
4) O the other hand- I can start right here discussion of Schiclegruber\'s
1) No personal comments, say the rules of this site, especially since I made
no value judgements.
2) Dissident = diagreeing, esp strongly or rebelliously, with an opinion or
group (Longman\'s English Dictionary)
3) I think we have now got a pretty much balanced view of Chomsky, between
my links and your cellar holdings, so I am afraid we have to stop here.
4) No, I am afraid you cannot as this forum is about linguistics and they will not tolerate any other discussion here.
| Linguistics. Not politics. || Jan 28, 2003 |
No politics in the forums, folks. This is a politic-free zone.
I\'m closing the thread.