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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Academic Paper


Title: A Dialogue on Linguistic Creativity
Paper URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2025514
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://isid.academia.edu/DebaprasadBandyopadhyay
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discipline of Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Linguistic Theories; Philosophy of Language; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: This paper is an abridged transcript of an imagined dialogue between Prof. Pro-Chomsky (PC) and Mr. Anti- Chomsky (AC). AC’s point of departure from Chomskian innateness hypothesis was mainly guided by Rolland Barthes, M. Foucault, and J. Kristeva. AC has risen following points in connection with the Chomskian innateness hypothesis:

1. From where does the ideal speaking subject speak? Where is the locus of ideal speaking subject? What is about the history of such ideal speaking subject? Does the outside influence in formation of inside LAD? What happens to transcendental Cogito (as postulated in Cartesian Linguistics), when it is subjected to the outside sociality? (Here I am inkling towards Psychoanalysis — to the construct of “psyche” rather than that of cogito as I am emphasizing on the society-psyche interface).

2. PC, out of his Cartesian anxiety, considers body as a machine. He deploys technical metaphors (e.g., The terms like “Computation’, “array” “interface”, “parser “etc or operations like “COMMAND”, “SATISFY”, “SPELL OUT”) for explaining human body. These are not metaphors or case of displacement only, but a case of metonymic transformation of human body as these technical metaphors condense the scope of human potentiality. Does human body follow algorithm only? Do we not have extra-/non-algorithmic cognitive ability? (AC’s point is that Cognitive Domain is not algorithmic only.)

3. Chomskian syntax analyzes the algorithm of “normal” “well-formed” sentences only. Apart from the exclusion of institution-body correlation in the Chomskian hypothesis, this very construction of “natural language” (e.g., the well-constructed written sentences) mercilessly marginalizes the language of so-called non-“natural” madness or folly. How do we know the differences between normal way of speaking and abnormal way of speaking? This question was initiated by Foucault (1968) to beg the premise of Cartesian cogito. Chomsky, who is like an old-fashioned physicist, is interested in VIBGYOR. However, in the domain of Art (where infinite sets of colors are illuminating) and literature, there is a proliferation of “deviations” from “normal standard” (as constructed by the Ideological State Apparatuses) and without such “deviations” no work of art or literature is possible. Is this domain of Art and Literature, a domain of unreason or madness or is it un-scientific?

4. According to AC, Chomskian syntax is an anotomo-bio-political tool for knowing the docile body of the speaking subject. The will to know the body(especially cognitive domain) of the speaking subject leads to the will to power over the docile body of the stable subject, who is objectified at the moment of deployment of syntactic tools. Thus, the subjectification of discipline of Linguistics (an enlightenment project) is possible.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Aligarh Journal of Linguistics, Vol. V, No.1, pp. 72-84, January 1996
URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2025514


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