esoteric and highly formalized rules

Sydney M Lamb lamb at OWLNET.RICE.EDU
Fri Apr 18 20:29:27 UTC 1997

Pamela Price Klebaum writes,
> . . .  How can you
> describe how to form a question out of "The man who is calling is
> yelling" without formalized rules?

Ans: In any number of ways: charts, diagrams, ordinary prose.  But the
more important question is: What does such an exercise have to do with
language as it is used by real people?, or as it is learned by children?,
or as it is represented in people's minds?  In people's ordinary use of
language they do not form sentences by deriving them from other
sentences (eg.  questions from statements).  Outputs of the linguistic
system come from the linguistic system, not from other outputs.

(By the way, has any real human being ever actually said "the man who is
caling is yelling"?.)


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