Chomsky -- put up or blah blah

Lisa & Ian Murray seamus at
Tue Mar 28 15:36:09 PST 2000

>>No -- the use of "intended" is just a bit of
shorthand. The hypothesis that language acquisition is innate, as I learned it, points out that in acquiring language, the brain must be learning *rules* which can generate an infinite number of sentences. But how can *rules* be imparted to an organism that hasn't acquired language? And if language acquisition were just an ensemble of behaviors, then the number of sentences in a language would be finite, and they're not (to the non-Chomskities here, the argument I learned for the infinity of possible sentences rests on an appeal to recursion in the phrase structure and transformation rules, so you may want to pick on me for that). Therefore (and to remove the offending word "intended"), the brain must have the capacity to learn language.

Cheerfully awaiting a downpour of abuse from Chomsky's supporters and detractors alike, -- Curtis ==========

No abuse but a query on the argument for the infinity of possible sentences. Got source[s]? BTW the Univ. of WA's William Calvin just published a book with Derek Bickerton that tries to marry Chomsky and Darwin. Haven't looked at it but those who are into the stuff might want to check it out...


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