esoteric and highly formalized rules (fwd)
PAMELA PRICE KLEBAUM
klebaum at UCLA.EDU
Sat Apr 19 01:48:29 UTC 1997
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 15:29:27 -0500 (CDT)
From: Sydney M Lamb <lamb at owlnet.rice.edu>
To: PAMELA PRICE KLEBAUM <klebaum at ucla.edu>
Cc: Multiple recipients of list FUNKNET <FUNKNET at LISTSERV.RICE.EDU>
Subject: Re: esoteric and highly formalized rules
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."
Ever study conversation? People of all ages make questions out of the
prior speaker's utterances all the time.
Father talking/reading to daughter: "The bear who is in the
biggest chair is mad."
Child: " Is the bear who's in the biggest chair going to hurt
(By the way, has any real human being ever actually said "the man who is
caling is yelling"?.)
What are you asking? The structure can be used and is in many forms: in a
cigarette ad: "the man who is smoking is killing himself" -- how do you describe how to do the
computation which forms a question out of that
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