Chomsky -- put up or blah blah

Curtiss Leung bofftagstumper at
Thu Mar 30 15:00:28 PST 2000

Scott, up against quota again, has sent me this nice brief on lexicalist arguments for infinite generative capacity, complete with references. Enjoy!

> Damn posting limit! :^)
> Chomsky may have implied that infinite generative
> capacity implies inateness, but I think there are
> better arguments to be made for inateness. I'm not
> sure what his current position is on that point.
> The dependency grammar FAQ at
> makes a very short argument against the idea that
> recursion is only possible with generative grammar.
> A more complete argument is in Mel'chuk's _Opyt
> Teorii Smysl<=>Tekst_, which, regretably, is in
> Russian, but I think he rehashes it in _Surface
> Syntax of English: A formal model within the
> Meaning-Text Framework_ and probably in _Dependency
> Syntax_. Richard Hudson also makes his case in
> _Arguments for a Non-Transformational Grammar_ and I
> think covers this issue.
> When I studied under Mel'chuk, the argument he gave
> was based on the nature of dependency syntax. Words
> are linked to other words, and some of the words
> they link to can also be linked to other words, and
> so on ad infinitum. Each word is embedded in a
> series of attachments to other words, which can
> create a recursive system and places no definite
> limit on the length of a sentence.
> Certainly, I can't think of any reason why a lexical
> theory couldn't explain infinite productive capacity
> any better than phrase structure can.
> Scott Martens

__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list