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Arc-Pair Grammar (was: Re: Re: Ceqli

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Monday, July 26, 2004, 14:48
John Cowan:
> And Rosta scripsit: > > > Arc Pair Grammar was a grammatical theory created by Paul Postal, > > not really understood by anybody else, but definitely deserving an > > encyclopaedia entry. > > Well, the point is to avoid crank theories. Here we seem to have a > crank theory invented by a non-crank. Gold's theory of non-biological > petroleum, and Fred Hoyle's theory of life arriving in bacterial form > from outer space, are both mentioned in the respective articles on them > (both famous mainstream astronomers), but there seem to be no articles > on the theories per se, neither of which is generally accepted.
Arc-Pair grammar wasn't a crank theory. It's just that (like Chomsky) Postal has never cared much about the perspicuity or penetrability of his work (though in fact his work is not gratuitously obscurantist in the way that Chomsky's is) and (unlike Chomsky) he has never cared about recruiting followers so never indulges in rhetorics of persuasion. In other words, he is a gifted syntactician and with exceptional industry he details his ideas in a regular effusion of thick tomes whose intended readership is people like him (i.e. gifted syntacticians with no time for the politics of scholarship). It was therefore politically safe for linguists to ignore Arc-Pair grammar, and for anybody with a trace of intellectual laziness it was desirable to do so too. Neglected but brilliant works deserve encyclopedia entries, because it hinders their being wholly lost to memory, and facilitates their rediscovery. --And.