LINGUIST List 10.376

Wed Mar 10 1999

FYI: NLP/Trans Story, Commentator/BBS, Radio Program

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Deborah D K Ruuskanen, NLP and Translation/A reminder
  2. Stevan Harnad, Neurology of Syntax: BBS Call for Commentators
  3. Peter T. Daniels, Re: 10.363: FYI radio program

Message 1: NLP and Translation/A reminder

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 1999 16:46:58 +0200 (EET)
From: Deborah D K Ruuskanen <>
Subject: NLP and Translation/A reminder

For those of you involved in NLP, computer translation, and translation
theory, an excerpt from a recent article by Joan Tate, a working
translator who for some 30 years has translated Swedish, Norwegian,
Danish, and Finnish-Swedish literature into English. A salutary
reminder that the ultimate consumer of your research is someone you are,
hopefully, collaborating with: the professional translator. 

The machinery is expensive. As the local man was not terribly au fait
with either the machine or what I wanted it for, the Area Manager said
he would come and show me. He came, a wiry snappily dressed man all the
way from Leeds. He brought with him a very pretty girl in a female grey
business suit and floppy tie, and it turned out she could type, which I
can't, and neither could the Area Manager, nor the local man, who was
also there, all four of us squashed in my very small work room. "Let me
just run through what you can do with this," said the Area Manager. He
then rattled off a long list of the miracles the machine could achieve,
and the miracles I could achieve with the machine. I had to stop him in
mid-flow, as apart from all that being too much to take in at one time,
it was clear he didn't know what I did. To this day, I think he at
first thought I was a professional typist. When I told him I couldn't
touch-type but just rattled on with two fingers, making numerous
mistakes, for which this machine would be perfect as I would conjure
them away as if by magic, and as if they had never been made in the
first place. "But what do you do?" he said. "I write," I said. "Books,
stories, anything. And I translate." "Show me," he said, rather
I usually dry up completely if someone stands behind me watching, and
not a word comes into my head. So I propped the book I was translating
at the time up on the plate-holder I had in front of the keyboard and
rattled off about a paragraph, practising the magical removal of endless
misprints at the same time. There was a silence, then the man pointed
at the book and said: "That's Swedish, is it?" "Yes," I said. "Someone
else has written it, and I put it into English and then it is published
in this country or America. I get paid to do that." Another silence. 
Then he pointed at the screen and said: "And that's English, I can see
that." There was another long pause, the other two in the room
apparently holding their breath. Then the man said, quite innocently: 
"But how does it work?"

Joan goes on: Well, you tell me. I don't know either, but it was an
interesting reaction. 

Anyone who wants the whole article, please contact me off list.
Cheers, DKR
Deborah D. Kela Ruuskanen 
Leankuja 1, FIN-01420 Van 
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Message 2: Neurology of Syntax: BBS Call for Commentators

Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 20:43:24 +0000 (GMT)
From: Stevan Harnad <>
Subject: Neurology of Syntax: BBS Call for Commentators

 Below is the abstract of a forthcoming BBS target article

 *** please see also 5 important announcements about new BBS
 policies and address change at the bottom of this message) ***


 by Yosef Grodzinsky

This article has been accepted for publication in Behavioral and Brain
Sciences (BBS), an international, interdisciplinary journal providing
Open Peer Commentary on important and controversial current research in
the biobehavioral and cognitive sciences.

Commentators must be BBS Associates or nominated by a BBS Associate. To
be considered as a commentator for this article, to suggest other
appropriate commentators, or for information about how to become a BBS
Associate, please send EMAIL by April 8th to:


 Behavioral and Brain Sciences
 ECS: New Zepler Building
 University of Southampton
 Highfield, Southampton

If you are not a BBS Associate, please send your CV and the name of a
BBS Associate (there are currently over 10,000 worldwide) who is
familiar with your work. All past BBS authors, referees and
commentators are eligible to become BBS Associates.

To help us put together a balanced list of commentators, please give
some indication of the aspects of the topic on which you would bring
your areas of expertise to bear if you were selected as a commentator.
An electronic draft of the full text is available for inspection
with a WWW browser, anonymous ftp or gopher according to the
instructions that follow after the abstract.



 Yosef Grodzinsky

 Department of Psychology
 Tel Aviv University
 Tel Aviv 69978


 Aphasia Research Center
 Department of Neurology
 Boston University School of Medicine

 ABSTRACT: A new view of the functional role of left anterior cortex
 in language use is proposed. The experimental record indicates that
 most human linguistic abilities are not localized in this region.
 In particular, most of syntax (long thought to be there) is not
 located in Broca's area and its vicinity (operculum, insula and
 subjacent white matter). This cerebral region, implicated in
 Broca's aphasia, does have a role in syntactic processing, but a
 highly specific one: it is neural home to receptive mechanisms
 involved in the computation of the relation between
 transformationally moved phrasal constituents and their extraction
 sites (in line with the Trace-Deletion Hypothesis). It is also
 involved in the construction of higher parts of the syntactic tree
 in speech production. By contrast, basic combinatorial capacities
 necessary for language processing - e.g., structure building
 operations, lexical insertion - are not supported by the neural
 tissue of this cerebral region, nor is lexical or combinatorial

 The dense body of empirical evidence supporting this restrictive
 view comes mainly from several angles on lesion studies of syntax
 in agrammatic Broca's aphasia. Five empirical arguments are
 presented: experiments in sentence comprehension; cross-linguistic
 considerations (where aphasia findings from several language types
 are pooled together and scrutinized comparatively); grammaticality
 and plausibility judgments; real-time processing of complex
 sentences; and rehabilitation. Also discussed are recent results
 from functional neuroimaging, and from structured observations on
 speech production of Broca's aphasics.

 Syntactic abilities, nonetheless, are distinct from other cognitive
 skills, and represented entirely and exclusively in the left
 cerebral hemisphere. Although more widespread in the left
 hemisphere than previously thought, they are clearly distinct from
 other human combinatorial and intellectual abilities. The
 neurological record (based on functional imaging, split-brain and
 right-hemisphere damaged patients, as well as patients suffering
 from a breakdown of mathematical skills) indicates that language is
 a distinct, modularly organized neurological entity. Combinatorial
 aspects of the language faculty reside in the human left cerebral
 hemisphere, but only the transformational component (or algorithms
 that implement it in use) is located in and around Broca's area.

 KEYWORDS: agrammatism, aphasia, Broca's area, cerebral localization,
 dyscalculia, functional neuroanatomy, grammatical transformation,
 modularity, neuroimaging, syntax, trace-deletion.


To help you decide whether you would be an appropriate commentator for
this article, an electronic draft is retrievable from the World Wide
Web or by anonymous ftp from the US or UK BBS Archive.
Ftp instructions follow below. Please do not prepare a commentary on
this draft. Just let us know, after having inspected it, what relevant
expertise you feel you would bring to bear on what aspect of the

The URLs you can use to get to the BBS Archive:

To retrieve a file by ftp from an Internet site, type either:
 When you are asked for your login, type:
 Enter password as queried (your password is your actual userid:
 yourloginyourhost.whatever.whatever - be sure to include the "")
cd /pub/harnad/BBS
 To show the available files, type:
 Next, retrieve the file you want with (for example):
get bbs.grodzinsky
 When you have the file(s) you want, type:

>From Tue Mar 9 18:51:44 1999
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Date: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 18:51:57 -0500
From: "Peter T. Daniels" <>
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Subject: Re: 10.363 FYI: Radio program
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> Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 18:44:39 -0500
> From: "Peter T. Daniels" <>
> Subject: Radio program
> It was announced on Friday that next week's installment (March 12) of
> "Lost and Found Sound," a year-long exploration of a century's worth of
> audio archives on National Public Radio's *All Things Considered*, will
> be about New York City dialects, using Wm. Labov's 40 years of tape
> recordings.
> The program usually airs between 4:30 and 5:00 EST (repeated 6:30-7:00);
> for listeners not within range of a public radio station, many of the
> affiliates offer live sound streaming from their websites. You can get a
> list of them at < >; I don't suppose there's any reason
> this wouldn't work outside the US.

Unfortunately(?), it was broadcast today (9 Mar) in the 4:30 slot; it
was a superb 11 1/2 minute piece. Sometimes they post audio of feature
stories, so it might be worth checking the website soon.
Peter T.Daniels
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Message 3: Re: 10.363: FYI radio program

Date: Tue, 09 Mar 1999 20:13:21 -0500
From: Peter T. Daniels <>
Subject: Re: 10.363: FYI radio program

The Labov program should be available here:


Presumably dated 12 March, since here, too, it says they are broadcast
on Fridays.
Peter T. Daniels
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