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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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Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

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Discussion Details

Title: Review of 'Chomsky's Minimalism'
Submitter: Wolfram Hinzen
Description: 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:
Date Posted: 10-Sep-2008
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
LL Issue: 19.2754
Posted: 10-Sep-2008

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