A (counter-)revolution in linguistics?

14 Sep

This week I will have to introduce my students to language development. This usually involves describing Chomsky’s theory, the standard in all textbooks. However, a serous challenge to Chomsky’s views has begun to emerge. You can read about it here in this Scientific American piece:

At the time the Chomskyan paradigm was proposed, it was a radical break from the more informal approaches prevalent at the time, and it drew attention to all the cognitive complexities in­­volved in becoming competent at speaking and understanding language. But at the same time that theories such as Chomsky’s allowed us to see new things, they also blinded us to other aspects of language. In linguistics and allied fields, many researchers are be­­coming ever more dissatisfied with a totally formal language approach such as universal grammar—not to mention the empirical inadequacies of the theory.

I wonder if there will be any renewed interest in Skinner’s ideas on this topic?

 

One Response to “A (counter-)revolution in linguistics?”

  1. Kathy H September 14, 2016 at 11:13 am #

    Interesting article. Reminds me when I was trying to learn Czech. Czech words are easy to pronounce because it is a extremely phonetic language without variation. But meaning of what was being said was very difficult because the Czech language uses a complex system of declension and conjunction where modification of a word changes the meaning. Also they have more tenses than we have in English that also changes meaning.

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