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Re: CHAT: Chomsky (Was Re: ALERT: Chomsky Giving a Talk on Language Creation?)

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Friday, January 9, 2004, 6:31
On Thursday, January 8, 2004, at 12:24 PM, John Cowan wrote:

> Ray Brown scripsit: > >> I may have misunderstood Chompskyism, or maybe Pinker mis-represents >> it - but my understanding was that the 'innate grammar' is regarded >> as the end-product of aeons of evolution, just as people like me see >> the the human eyeball the result of the same process. > > Chomsky, however, is unwilling to discuss mechanisms whereby this > may have come about, and people have charged him with what we might > call implicit creationism: he treats the language organ/instinct > as if it arose complete and full-blown in all details.
Right - I was going by the Pinker version. As you've said, Chomsky himself is not the easiest read. However, to someone of my background, your description makes him sound to me like a Platonist rather than a Murkian Creationist.
> > BTW, your spelling "Chompsky" is interesting as showing the regular > English sound-change /ms/ > /mps/ that has actually added a "p" > to "Thompson" (Tom's son). (Hi, Chlewey!)
Like Thomson & Thompson in the English version of Tintin :) Actually, I think there was some interference from subconscious memories of reading about experiment with getting a Chimpanzee to understand language; IIRC he was (nick)named Nim Chimpsky. It does, however, reflect the way I pronounce his name. The same sound change occurs in Latin, e.g. sumo, sumere, _sumpsi_ (<-- sum+si), sumptum (<-- sum+tum) "to take up, assume" [long 'u' in all forms] [snip]
>> introspection. But, I agree, it did give appear to give Chompskyism >> an anglocentric slant; but I do not believe this was intended. > > Indeed. I believe this complaint can fairly be called obsolete as well: > too many languages have now been discussed using various Chomskyan > frameworks.
Yep - that's what I thought. That's why I was using the past tense. Ray =============================================== (home) (work) =============================================== "A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language." J.G. Hamann, 1760