LINGUIST List 12.321

Wed Feb 7 2001

Qs: Ideas for Undergrad Course, Lang and Logic

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  1. Debra Aarons, mysteries
  2. Gale, George, Language and principles of logic

Message 1: mysteries

Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 16:36:08 +0200
From: Debra Aarons <>
Subject: mysteries

We are trying to put together an undergraduate course on the linguist as 
detective. We want to use the terminology of detective stories to describe
ways in which various linguistic phenomena can be accounted for. Any tips
gratefully received. I will post a summary of responses to the list. Thanks
in advance.

Debra Aarons
Department of Linguistics
University of Stellenbosch

South Africa
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Message 2: Language and principles of logic

Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001 09:46:04 -0600
From: Gale, George <>
Subject: Language and principles of logic

During a discussion yesterday regarding the opposed positions of Locke and
Leibniz on the status and role of the principle of non-contradiction, one of my
students asked whether contemporary linguists had done research on the issue.
She was particularly interested in Leibniz' claim that, whether or not a person
held an explicit, formal version of the principle, their linguistic behavior
would in fact exhibit their obeying it.

This raises the associated issue of the so-called "laws of thought" in general:
does linguistic behavior generally occur in such ways as to allow one to infer
that the speaker is (perhaps even only roughly) the principles of
non-contradiction, identity and excluded middle?

If there is some research done on these topics, I'd appreciate its being pointed
out to me. I'll summarize what I find out for the list.

George Gale
Philosophy/Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City
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