LINGUIST List 3.413

Sat 16 May 1992

Disc: Citations

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Geoffrey Russom, Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations
  2. "Ellen F. Prince", Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations
  3. bert peeters, 3.404 Chomsky citations

Message 1: Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations

Date: Fri, 15 May 92 10:05:58 EDRe: 3.404 Chomsky citations
From: Geoffrey Russom <>
Subject: Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations

In view of the number of Chomsky citations, it is puzzling to note that
his ideas are not much USED by the deconstructionists or other
current "literary theorists", even when issues of a rather obviously
cognitivist nature arise. The major sociolinguists (who surely qualify
as radicals) are also neglected. Instead we find lots of Sapir, Saussure,
and Levi-Strauss. The view from "intellectual backwaters like Paris" (to
add another Chomsky citation) seems somewhat restricted geographically.

 -- Rick
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Message 2: Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations

Date: Fri, 15 May 92 11:12:53 -0Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations
From: "Ellen F. Prince" <>
Subject: Re: 3.404 Chomsky citations

	i would like to place a large bet that chomsky is by far the most cited
	linguist in the postings to the Linguist List...
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Message 3: 3.404 Chomsky citations

Date: Sat, 16 May 92 11:06:12 ES3.404 Chomsky citations
From: bert peeters <>
Subject: 3.404 Chomsky citations

> Date: Wed, 13 May 92 12:48:37 -0400
> From: (Dan Everett)
> Moreover, the fact that Chomsky publishes more than
> any other linguist (if I am wrong, please correct me - that would be
> interesting) doesn't hurt his citation index. His output is nearly
> Asimovian.

I know of at least two other linguists whose output is as gargantuan as
Chomsky's. It would be nice if someone could actually sit down and see
who's the real champion (taking into account how long all concerned have
been in the job). One is Anna Wierzbicka (Australian National University),
the other one is Pierre Swiggers (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven). Now,
if both of them are quoted far less often than Chomsky, it is not because
they publish less, but because they deal with areas that for some reason
or other appear to be less fashionable than "pure autonomous syntax".

> His influence on the field can be seen even at the level of university
> administration: when a department chairperson wants to convince a
> university administrator that linguistics has natural intellectual
> ties to many departments, I do not think that they would drop the
> names of Saussure or Pike rather than Chomsky.

Agreed, by mentioning Wierzbicka or Swiggers, you wouldn't get half as
far. But then again, the reason for this is the one mentioned above.

> It is worth considering the possibility that many of the citations of
> Chomsky's work could be due to ignorance - if he said it, or even if
> we think he did, just cite him and nobody will argue; why look for the
> *original* source? That's hard work and laziness too often prevails.

I've got the distinct impression that the ignorance scenario is indeed
a likely one. See for instance Manning/Parker in Language Sciences (1989;
their paper on word order hierarchies, with its reference to Lightfoot
and Chomsky) and my reply in Language Sciences (1991; "Basic word order
frequencies or Manning/Parker contra Tomlin", pp. 79-88).

> Date: 13 May 1992 23:20 EDT
> From: Robert Beard <>
> Jakobson's
> and Halle's work in distinctive features also clearly superceded pre-
> vious work, making it difficult to find structuralist work relevant to
> what is going on today.

Hold it... In semantics, I clearly feel that structuralist work remains
extremely relevant to what is going on today in linguistics. But maybe
you guys will all think that what semanticists in general and this
semanticist in particular is doing is entirely IRrelevant... :-)
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