The Linguistics Wars / Edition 1

The Linguistics Wars / Edition 1

by Randy Allen Harris
     
 

ISBN-10: 019509834X

ISBN-13: 9780195098341

Pub. Date: 03/28/1995

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

When it was first published in 1957, Noam Chomsky's Syntactic Structures seemed to be just a logical expansion of the reigning approach to linguistics. Soon, however, there was talk from Chomsky and his associates about plumbing mental structure; and a new phonology; and a new set of goals for the field, cutting it off completely from its anthropological roots and…  See more details below

Overview

When it was first published in 1957, Noam Chomsky's Syntactic Structures seemed to be just a logical expansion of the reigning approach to linguistics. Soon, however, there was talk from Chomsky and his associates about plumbing mental structure; and a new phonology; and a new set of goals for the field, cutting it off completely from its anthropological roots and hitching it to a new brand of psychology. Rapidly, all of Chomsky's ideas swept the field. While the entrenched linguists were not looking for a messiah, apparently many of their students were. There was a revolution, a revolution which has colored the field of linguistics ever since. Chomsky's assault on the mainstream and his development of transformational-generative grammar was promptly endorsed by new linguistics recruits swelling the discipline in the sixties. Everyone was talking of the revolution and major breakthroughs seemed imminent. But something unexpected happened - Chomsky and his followers had a vehement and public falling out. In The Linguistics Wars, Randy Allen Harris traces the origins of this revolution in linguistics and tells how Chomsky began reevaluating the field and rejecting the extensions his students and erstwhile followers were making. Those he rejected (the generative semanticists) reacted bitterly, while new students began to pursue Chomsky's updated vision of language. The result was several years of infighting against the backdrop of the notoriously prickly sixties. The outcome of the dispute, Harris shows, was not a simple linear matter of a good theory beating out a bad one. The debates followed the usual trajectory of most large-scale clashes, scientific or otherwise. Both positions changed dramatically in the course of the dispute - the triumphant Chomskyan position was very different from the initial one; the defeated generative semantics position was even more transformed. Interestingly, important features of generative semantics have since made their way into

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195098341
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
9.13(w) x 6.13(h) x 1.11(d)

Table of Contents

1Language, Thought, and the Linguistics Wars3
2Linguistics10
3The Chomskyan Revolution35
4The Beauty of Deep Structure74
5Generative Semantics 1: The Model101
6Generative Semantics 2: The Heresy135
7The Vicissitudes of War160
8Generative Semantics 3: The Ethos198
9Generative Semantics 4: The Collapse214
10Whence and Whither240
Notes261
Works Cited311
Index341

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