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LINGUIST List 19.2754

Wed Sep 10 2008

Disc: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'

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

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        1.    Wolfram Hinzen, Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'

Message 1: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
Date: 09-Sep-2008
From: Wolfram Hinzen <wolfram.hinzendur.ac.uk>
Subject: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
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One would like to see the empirical evidence for the 'fact' that semantics
goes before syntax, or that we first 'think', and then 'speak', as stated
in LINGUIST discussion issue number 19.2747 (link below). There is, as far
as I know, no evidence, in fact, that semantics of the human kind is
possible in the absence of a suitable syntax or generative system that
supports such a semantics. If so, semantics, not only cannot, but must come
after syntax, and it is a genuine insight of the generative tradition that
what kinds of semantic interpretations we get, systematically depends on
which syntactic structures a mind can and does compute. The idea that
thoughts can be generated in a language-less mental nirvana, and then get
somehow 'translated' into language, is a philosophical myth that arose with
the Cartesian rationalist tradition.

To see the previous thread(s) in this discussion, please visit:

Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories

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