the debate

Dick Hudson dick at LINGUISTICS.UCL.AC.UK
Mon Apr 28 09:31:27 UTC 1997

As one of those that Mark Durie describes as a listener, perhaps I could say
how I see these recurrent debates on Funknet. The latest one has been really
interesting, but there's been hardly any discussion of formal vs functional
as such. I think that's usually the case, so it's hardly surprising if
people don't change their minds on that particular issue. But every time we
read a message about (say) innateness it helps us all to sort out our own
ideas a little more clearly on that particular topic. That may not count as
`changing our mind', but our minds do change.

Personally I think `formal' vs `functional' is like `right' vs `left' in
politics - a very crude way of locating oneself and others in a really
complex intellectual space. Maybe ok emotionally but not to be taken too
seriously as a basis for scientific thinking.

Richard (=Dick) Hudson
Department of Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College London,
Gower Street,
London WC1E 6BT
work phone: +171 419 3152; work fax: +171 383 4108
email: dick at
  home page =
  unpublished papers available by ftp =

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