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LINGUIST List 19.2747

Tue Sep 09 2008

Disc: New: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <catherinlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Giuseppe G. A. Celano, New: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'


Message 1: New: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
Date: 07-Sep-2008
From: Giuseppe G. A. Celano <giuseppe.celanoyahoo.it>
Subject: New: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
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Read Review: http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-1890.html

This review is highly biased and evanescent, in that it lingers on
secondary/insignificant details, avoiding the actual core of Seuren’s
critique repeated all along the book:

in the Minimalist Program (and in general in "Mainstream Generative
Grammar") the semantic component is set at the end of the syntactic
derivation, which means that the computation is absurdly (in a realist
reading) or perversely (in an instrumentalist perspective) thought of as
not semantically driven (hence the appropriate definition of
"random-generator model").

The question is: how is it possible that the meaning of sentences FOLLOWS
their syntax? It is an empirical fact that humans first think what to say
and then speak. Language (and hence grammar) is a means to communicate
thoughts (that is, meanings) (in this respect, Chomsky 2002: 76-77 is
nonsense). Negating that semantics is before syntax goes against empirical
evidence. This is the question generativists should answer before disputing
about any other topic.

It must be admitted that Generative Grammar is becoming more and more
semantic and some more rational models have been proposed (such as multiple
spell-out models): notwithstanding, the fact remains that for someone to
have conceived of a grammatical model like that of MP (still largely
adopted) is just disconcerting.


Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
                            Syntax


Review Discussions:
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