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Chomsky's Linguistics Refuted

John Williamson

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On the December 17 edition of this website, I had an article published which detailed a sentence – “Who will be easy for us to get his mother to talk to?” - I’ll call it Sentence A - which a number of Chomskyan scholars were analyzing, seemingly unaware that the sentence was ungrammatical. I saw this as a failure of Chomskyan linguistics, in that a first rule of linguistic analysis is to determine the grammatical status of a structure under consideration.

There were quite a few viewer comments to that posting, some of which were favorable, and some of which questioned my motives in attacking Chomsky.

One of those who disagreed with me was an individual who identified him/herself only as “a Chomskyan linguist.” I will refer to this quite knowledgeable person as “Chom Ling”. The point that Chom Ling wanted to make was that my understanding of the issues was incorrect, and so, using the comments section of the FrontPageMag.com website, we engaged in a debate that lasted for well over a week. I thought that Chom Ling fought a fair fight, raising objections and challenges which were reasonable and appropriate, and acknowledging that I had scored a few points. I will note that at no point did Chom Ling ever introduce into the debate any concepts or terms derived from Chomskyan theory. That seemed strange; after all – not to put too fine a point on it – if the tools which are part of one’s espoused theoretical framework are not useful in order to help one argue or advance one’s own argument…oh, never mind.

Read the entire article on the Front Page Magazine website (new window will open).

Posted: 1/4/05



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