LINGUIST List 5.467

Thu 21 Apr 1994

Disc: Mainstream Linguistics

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Mainstream/Generative
  2. Johanna Rubba, Mainstream ling.

Message 1: Mainstream/Generative

Date: Tue, 12 Apr 94 10:10:28 EDMainstream/Generative
From: <>
Subject: Mainstream/Generative

Re: Dick Hudson's remarks about 'generative', is there anyone
who still uses it to mean what it originally meant, i.e.,
'completely well-defined and used to generate all and only
the well-formed sentences of a given language'? I think
not, so perhaps it is just as well to allow it to become
a purely sociopolitical label. Likewise, 'formal'. Instead,
for the precise mathematical terms, perhaps we need to substitute
different words, e.g., 'explicit', 'rigorous', 'constructive',,
or the like.
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Message 2: Mainstream ling.

Date: Tue, 12 Apr 1994 14:22:12 Mainstream ling.
From: Johanna Rubba <>
Subject: Mainstream ling.

I'm glad to see that my remark about Lakoff is engendering
further discussion, as well as some queries directed to me

I don't recall claiming in my original message that the notion
that constructions might have semantic content is a new or
original notion that has arisen for the first time in cognitive
linguistics. A few readers seem to have inferred this; it
would clearly be a mistaken notion. There is little new under
the sun.

As to Paul Deane's correction to my correction, I'm glad to
see him draw some finer distinctions among various practitioners
of cognitive linguistics. Cognitive Grammar a la Langacker certainly
does that thing that Paul said you don't do in any version of generative
grammar -- that is, reduce syntax to semantics and apply the same principles
to both levels. Although construction grammar does not go as far as
Cognitive Grammar in doing so, Lakoff's work certainly applies some
principles at both levels, e.g. prototype organization of categories and
metaphorical extension as a means of creating polysemy (including among

And I can only second his call for more extensive citation of work
done by cognitive and functional linguists on problems discussed in
the generative literature.

Jo Rubba
The University of Montana
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