existence and reality

Rob Freeman rjfreeman at EMAIL.COM
Sat Apr 5 11:49:44 UTC 2003

On Saturday 05 April 2003 4:10 pm, James MacFarlane wrote:
> > From: the phoneme <the_phoneme at HOTMAIL.COM
> >
> > Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
> ...if linguists begin to become
> more interested in language content and language use as a determining
> factor for the structure of language, then your days are numbered.

Hi James,

I see your perspective and raise you one :-) I don't see emergence as
primarily a functionalist/structuralist thing. Though it does gel with the
fundaments of Functionalism based on contrast rather than category.

It's more than an esoteric theoretical issue at the syntax level.

Phonemes change with time, and may be essentially indeterminate, but syntax
arguably changes with each sentence. We might have to search hard to find
evidence for emergence at the phoneme level (certain frequency effects?) but
a category which changes with each sentence might explain lots of
pseudo-categorical syntactic behaviour, like phraseology, collocational and
formulaic aspects of language. (Which behave in some ways like words, and yet

That's the perspective I want to hear about. How current is that with people?



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