Mark P. Line
mark at polymathix.com
Mon Oct 25 15:22:53 UTC 2010
As many of us here know, that was true in many places -- vehemently so in
the 70's and early 80's. Hence my comment about needing to walk the fine
line in order to do non-Chomskyan work and stay on a tenure track.
As Dick Hudson has pointed out, there are indeed some folks here who have
done and continue to do non-Chomskyan, even anti-Chomskyan, work and do
have tenure. These are the ones who found a way to walk that fine line
(or, in a few cases, were doing non-Chomskyan work while Chomsky was
writing Aspects...). For each one of them, I'd wager that there are a
dozen of us who either didn't figure it out or who were prevented (by
financial, family or other factors) from finding greener pastures.
Mark P. Line
Esmat Babaii wrote:
> Hi John,
> Until a couple of years ago, Chomsky had been idolized in our
> linguistics departments that it would be a professional suicide if
> someone criticized his works, something like Andersen?s ?Emperor? New
> Suits? story! Interesting to read your comments.
> On 10/25/10, john at research.haifa.ac.il <john at research.haifa.ac.il> wrote:
>> (1) Chomsky's descriptive observations about nominalizations were not at
>> original--Jespersen made the same observations.
>> (2) The observations about island constraints were from Haj Ross'
>> (3) The competence/performance distinction is basically Saussure's
>> (4) At Penn (where I studied) it was commonly acknowledged that the idea
>> of generative grammar was lifted from Zelig Harris (Chomsky's mentor
>> although I'm not sure that I believe this.
>> Quoting Richard Hudson <dick at ling.ucl.ac.uk>:
>>> Thanks Aya, Alex and Mark for your views. It's very odd for me to be
>>> defending Chomsky, since I've spent most of my life criticising him,
>>> he's an ordinary human being just like the rest of us, with good points
>>> and bad points. When I said he couldn't be all wrong, I actually meant
>>> he wasn't all wrong - I can easily think of plenty of things that he
>>> that were right, and inspired good work.
>>> My personal list of achievements by Chomsky:
>>> - His 1970 article on nominalisation, with its clear distinction
>>> gerunds and nominalisations.
>>> - His insights into the structure of the English auxiliary system (but
>>> not his morpheme-based analysis).
>>> - His observations on island constraints in syntax - but not his
>>> - His contrast between knowledge (competence) and behaviour
>>> (performance) - but not his catch-all use of 'performance'.
>>> - His idea of formal 'generative' grammar - but not his later
>>> abandonment of the substance.
>>> I dare say I could add some more if I thought a bit longer. These are
>>> all things that he did which influenced my own (generally
>>> work, and which I know have influenced plenty of other non-Chomskyans.
>>> And I don't agree that the whole field is so dominated by his doctrines
>>> that other views can't be heard - just think of all the books and
>>> articles and university departments oriented towards other approaches,
>>> from non-Chomskyan formal theories such as HPSG and LFG, to
>>> non-Chomskyan informal work on discourse and the like. I'm sure some
>>> people on this list both disagree with Chomsky and have tenure.
>>> Dick Hudson
>>> Richard Hudson www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/home.htm
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Mark P. Line
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