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  • 7/30/2019 Chomsky (1)


    1. Describe importance of Chomsky (citation, awards, productivity, academic


    Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, politician, cognitivescientist, activist and lecturer. Most cited living person, 4000 citations in Arts

    and Humanities Citation Index from the period 1980-1992; 1619 citations in

    the Science Index (1947-1992), Chomsky is eighth on the list of ten most cited

    figures of all time; AWARDS: India, Japan, and China (August 2010).

    Japanese equivalent to Nobel Prize (1988 Kyoto prize); PRODUCTIVITY:

    linguistics (30 titles), philosophy, politics, cognitive science, psychology (over

    40 titles); 8 volumes (more than 100 articles) discussing his work; CAREER:

    MIT, associate professor at the age 29, full professor at the age 32.

    2. Family and childhood (place and date of birth, father, mother, brother,

    elementary school)?

    Born in Philadelphia, December 7, 1928; PARENTS: father William Chomsky

    (emigrated from Russia 1913, teacher of Hebrew, Ph.D., thesis medieval

    Hebrew, published a grammar of Hebrew), mother Elsie Simonofsky: taught

    Hebrew, politically sensitive. Noam and his younger brother David from the

    very young age were exposed to the scholarship, culture, and traditions of

    Judaism and Hebrew language. Chomsky attended an experimental school in

    Philadelphia called Oak Lane Country Day School. He started his education at a

    remarkably young age-just prior to his second birthday. It was experimental in

    the sense that there was no grades, no competition between children, but rather

    emphasis on their creativity.

    3. High school education, trips to New York, visits to family, influence of

    Chomskys uncle?

    At the age of 12 he enrolled to Central High School in Philadelphia. He was a

    good student, but he didnt like the competitive atmosphere in the school. He

    was rather active in the school, participating in activities of various school

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    clubs. At the age of 13, Chomsky began his frequent trips to N.Y. by train to

    visit his uncle and other relatives. During these visits he spend many hours in

    the secondhand bookstores, buy book and then read them at home in

    Philadelphia and in company of his uncle. His uncle was without formal

    education, but very intelligent and self-educated, had a lasting impact on

    Chomsky. He had a newsstand on Manhattan and Chomsky was frequently

    there to help his uncle. He thought Chomsky about Freud and Marxist politics.

    The newsstand of his uncle was a meeting point for Jewish intellectual

    emigrants from Europe, and Chomsky was exposed to their daily discussions

    about Freud, Marx, literature, etc.

    4. Undergraduate studies and the influence of Zellig Harris?

    Chomsky began undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in

    1945 when he was only 16. He stayed with his parents, but he earned money to

    pay tuition for the University by teaching Hebrew. He didnt like the

    institutional structure the University which also emphasized competition

    among students. He liked his professor in the philosophy department and his

    Arabic teacher. (Because of their progressive political attitude).Political

    attitudes and linguistic works had an influence on Chomsky. Zellig Harris was

    a structural linguist who founded the linguistic department at the University of

    Pennsylvania; Zellig encouraged Chomsky to take graduate courses in

    philosophy and mathematics. It was during the period in which Chomsky

    wanted drop out, so Harris influenced him not to do that. Chomsky was also

    influenced by his linguistic work. At that time Harris completed his best

    known book Methods in Structural Linguistics and gave proofs of his book

    to Chomsky to read; best known book of Harris Methods in structural


    5. Graduate studies and the period spent at Harvard?

    In the fall semester of 1949 Chomsky began his graduate studies at the

    University of Pennsylvania. In two years he fulfilled requirements for M.A.

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    degree and completed his masters thesis in 1951. Actually, it was a revision of

    his B.A. thesis. The revised version of his M.A. thesis was published 28 years

    later, in 1979, as Morphophonemics of Modern Hebrew. After 2 years of

    graduated studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Chomsky was awarded a

    prestige scholarship to study at Harvard (1951) thanks to his philosophy teacher

    Nelson Goodman. Owing to the stipend that he received as a Junior Fellow, he

    could entirely devote himself to his study and research. At Harvard he met

    many important and influential linguists and philosophers.-Roman Jakobson,

    Morris Halle (helped them to get position at MIT).

    6. Chomsky and Zionism, and early visit to Israel?

    Various Jewish organizations in the United States encouraged young Jews to

    organize in Israel. Chomsky was never officially a member of these Jewish

    organizations, but was indirectly connected with them in various ways.

    Nevertheless, American Jews perceive Chomsky as an anti-Zionist. The reason

    for such perception is the fact he was against the creation of Israel as a Jewish

    state. Chomsky actually supported plans that existed before 1948 to establish a

    socialist state in Palestine with equal perception of Arabs and Jews. Chomsky

    and Carol decided to visit Israel in 1953. They lived in a kibbutz for 6 weeks

    with people who were engaged in manual labor and intellectual work. Chomsky

    worked as an agricultural laborer during his stay in kibbutz which was very

    poor, had little food, but lots of hard work. During their stay in Israel, Chomsky

    could see that non-Jewish population was marginalized and not treated well.

    After 6 weeks they returned to the U S.

    7. Getting PhD, the first book prepared for publication, and arrival at MIT?

    Chomsky received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1955,

    although he didnt actually fulfill all formal obligations for the degree. He just

    submitted one chapter of the book he was currently working on. This book was

    prepared for publication in1955, but there was no publisher ready to publish a

    volume of 1,000 pages which contained completely new ideas and new

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    approach to language analysis. It had to wait 20 years for publication. It was

    finally published in 1975 under the title The Logical Structure of Linguistic

    Theory. Chomsky arrived to MIT in 1955 and remained in this respected

    institution ever since. Chomsky, as an assistant professor, was assigned to a

    machine translation project conducted at the MIT Research Laboratory of


    8. The publication ofSyntactic Structure?

    - Van Schoonefeld realized that Chomskys lecture notes for the undergraduate

    course on language he was teaching on MIT were something new and original

    and offered him publishing. The book was published in 1957 in the form of

    monograph called Syntactic Structure. The first review of published of the

    book was published in the influential journal Language in 1957. Chomsky

    thinks that only the last half of Syntactic Structure represents the major

    contribution to linguistics, but that part was actually taken directly from his

    unpublished (at that time) book Logical Structure.

    9. Confrontation with structuralists and Chomskys antibehaviorism?

    American structuralism was based on behaviorism and this approach to

    language and language learning was most clearly elaborated in B.F.Skinners

    book Verbal Behavior published in 1957. Chomsky wrote a very critical review

    of this book which was published in the journal Language in 1959. Skinner

    claimed that the same external processes, like reinforcement, which are

    employed to predict and control the behavior of animals, can be used to explain

    human behavior in general, including verbal behavior. Chomskys review was a

    direct attack on the leading proponent of behaviorism of that time. Chomsky

    pointed out in his review that creativity is the main characteristic of human

    language and therefore cannot possibly be explained by any behaviorist theory.

    If very young children are able to understand utterances they hear for the first

    time, then it is clear that the behaviorist theory of language must be wrong.

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    10. Establishment of Graduate program in linguistics at MIT, and Chomskys

    classic period?

    In the spring of 1959, Chomsky and his colleague Morris Halle decided that it

    was the right time to establish a graduate program in linguistics at MIT,

    although this institution didnt have any large departments of humanities or

    social sciences. Chomsky was 33 when he was made professor of foreign

    languages and linguistics at MIT. In the 1960s, Chomsky was extremely

    productive and this period is characterized as Chomskys classic period some

    historians of linguistics. In this period, he participated at the Ninth International

    Congress of Linguistics in 1962 and presented a paper entitled The Logical

    Bases of Linguistic Theory, which elaborated his approach to language known

    as transformational generative grammar. The expended version of his talk was

    later published as the book Current Issues in Linguistic Theory.

    The intellectual in demand, the responsible intel., draft resistance and the March

    on Pent?

    Chomsky became intellectual in demand in 1960 when he became famous in the

    academic circles because of his work in the field of language but also philosophy

    which was characterized as revolutionary. He gave lectures, travelled frequently. He

    started to express his opinions about the current political situation: he raised his voice

    against violations of human rights, the invasion of Vietnam, and all forms of

    oppression in various parts of the world. The title of his first political article was

    Responsibility of Intellectuals- New York Review of Books. In 1966 Chomsky

    supported the draft resistance and the event led to the formation of the organization

    called Resist that became involved in all forms of resistance to authority. Resist was

    also involved in the organization of the March on the Pentagon. During this march,

    Chomsky and many other participants were arrested and spent the night in a police


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    Chomskys activities in the 1970s, Chomsky as a critic of American policy?

    At the beginning of the 1970, Chomsky continued his activities in various fields. He

    was invited to give lectures, he was awarded honours, and he published new books. So

    in 1972 he published Studies on Semantics in Generative Grammar. He received

    honorary doctorates from various institutions in the US and abroad: D.H.L.s from

    Loyola University in Chicago and Swarthmore College in 1970, Bard College in 1971,

    Delhi University in 1972, and the University of Massachusetts in 1973.

    He had famous public debate with Michel Foucault on Dutch television in 1971.

    He was active in political domain in this period as well; the books At War with Asia

    was published in in 1970 and For Reasons of State in 1973.

    In this period, Chomsky became known as severe critic of American policy, especially

    foreign policy, but he was marginalized in the sense that the media didnt give him

    space to make his views known to a wider audience. He constantly wrote letters to

    editors of newspapers, but just a few were published. Nevertheless, he continued to

    write, to participate in demonstrations and marches and collaborate with those persons

    who were fighting for a better society.

    Collaboration with Edward Herman and censorship?

    Chomsky decided to start collaborating with Edward Herman and a new phase began:

    where he analysed the role of the media in the society, in addition to the political

    analysis of current events. The book Counter-Revolutionary Violence was censored

    because Warner Communications claimed that it was pack of lies and an attack on


    14. The academic role, controversies and confrontations?

    From the beginning of his academic career, Chomsky was interested in universitys

    function and the academics role in society. He points out that academics often support

    violent and illegal state policies which are related to their desire for power but also to

    indoctrination. These opinions caused confrontations between Chomsky and those

    intellectuals who are ready to serve the interests of those in power and to support the

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    interest of one group even if it is against basic human principles. In the mid-1970s,

    Chomsky had confrontations with pro-Israeli, anti-Communists, and pro-Cold War


    15. Accusations against Chomsky and Chomsky as teacher?

    he was accused of being pro-Soviet because he criticized actions of the American

    government towards the Soviet Union

    of being anti-Soviet: for criticizing Bolshevism and the Soviet government

    of being pro-Arab: criticized the treatment of Arab by Jews

    of being anti-Arab: because he applied the similar principles to Arab politics

    of being anti-Semitic: whenever he pointed the wrongdoings of Israelis

    of being pro-Khmer Rouge when he criticized the propaganda campaign in the

    West concerning Cambodia.

    of being pro-Nazi because of his opposition to censorship against those who claim

    that the Holocaust never happened

    Even though Chomsky is 80 and retired he is still active as a teacher. He teaches a

    graduate course in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy of the Massachusetts

    Institute of Technology (MIT). His classes are attended by more than one hundred

    people graduate students, but also linguists and scholars in the field of philosophy,

    psychology, and mathematics.

    16. What does Chomsky investigate in Syntactic Structures? What does he

    develop? Explain.

    He investigates 3 models for linguistic structure and seeks to determine their


    The first: communication theoretic model of language

    The second: incorporates immediate constituent analysis

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    He claims that neither of these models can properly serve the purposes of grammatical

    description therefore he develops

    The third: transformational model for linguistic structure which is more powerful than

    the immediate constituent model.

    17. Give sentence that Chomsky used as a proof that grammar is independent of

    meaning. Discuss.

    a. Colourless green ideas sleep furiously.

    b. Furiously sleep ideas green colourless.

    Grammaticalness cannot be semantically based. The ability of humans to produce andrecognize grammatical utterances is not based on meaning.

    18. What is the first model for linguistic structure and why is it inadequate?

    The first model is: communication theoretic model of language. It is inadequate

    because it cannot account for the active-passive relation between sentences.

    19. What is the second model for linguistic structure, which types of rules are


    The second: incorporate immediate constituent analysis.

    20. Apply relevant phrase structure rules to derive The man hit the ball.

    The man hit the ball.


    NP+VP (2a)

    T+N+VP (2b)

    T+N+V+NP (2c)

    The+N+V+NP (2d)

    The+man+V+NP (2e)

    The+man+hit+NP (2f)

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    The+man+hit+T+N (2b)

    The+man+hit+the+N (2d)

    The+man+hit+the+ball (2e2)

    21. Give morphophonemic rules which specify realizations of the past tense

    morpheme. Explain.

    a) [... D] + past [... D] + [ id ] (where D = [ t ] or [ d ])

    b) [... Cunv] + past [...Cunv] + [ t ] (where Cunv is an unvoiced


    c) Past [ d ]

    These rules specify the different ways in which the past tense morpheme may be

    realized. In case the verb ends in [ t ] or [ d ], the rule (a) applies, so that the past tense

    morpheme is realized as [ id ]. If the verb ends in a voiceless consonant, then the rule

    (b) applies and the past tense morpheme is realized as [ t ]. In all other cases rule (c )

    applies and the past tense morpheme is realized as [ d ].

    22. Specify the rule which C. proposed for auxiliary verbs in declarative

    sentences. Explain.

    a. Verb Aux + V

    b. V hit, take, walk, read, etc.

    c. Aux C (M) (have + en) (be + ing) (be + en)

    d. M will, can, may, shall, must, etc.

    The rule (a) specifies that the Verb element may actually consist of an auxiliary verb

    and a verb. The rule (c) specifies that the Aux element may be complex, consisting of

    Tense (C), Modal verbs (M), and helping verbs have and be, plus aspectual

    suffixesen anding. Tense (C) is obligatory, whereas all others are optional

    (indicated by parenthesis). If parenthesized elements are chosen, then they must

    appear in the order indicated by the rule.

    23. Specify the rule for Tense (C) and explain.

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    24. Give the transformational rule for passives that Chomsky proposed. Give a

    concrete example.

    If S1 is a sentence of the form: NP1 Aux V Np2

    Then the corresponding string of the form: NP2 Aux + be + en V By +


    Is also a grammatical sentence

    To give a concrete example, if the stringJohn - C admiresincerity is a sentence,

    then the corresponding stringsincerity C + be + en admire by + John is also


    25. What is grammatical transformation?

    Chomsky emphasizes that the supplementary rules lead to an entirely new conception

    of linguistic structure. He calls each such rule a grammatical transformation. A

    grammatical transformation T operates on a given string (or a set of strings) with a

    given constituent structure and converts it into a new string with new derived

    constituent structure

    26. What are some of the essential properties of a transformational grammar?

    First, it is clear that an order of application on these transformations must be defined.

    Second, certain transformations are obligatory, whereas others are only optional.

    27. What is the kernel of the language according to Chomsky?

    Kernel of the language, according to Chomsky, is the set of sentences that are

    produced when obligatory transformations are applied to the terminal strings of the

    phrase structure grammar. The transformational part of the grammar will be set up in

    such a way that transformations can apply to kernel sentences or to prior

    transformations. Thus every sentence of the language will either belong to the kernel

    or will be derived from the strings underlying one or more kernel sentences by a

    sequence of one or more transformations.

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    28. Chomsky argues for a grammar which possesses a natural tripartite

    arrangement. Explain!

    Corresponding to the level of phrase structure, a grammar has a sequence of rules of

    the form XY, and corresponding to lower levels (e.g., a morphophonemic level) it

    has a sequence of morphophonemic rules of the same basic form. Linking these two

    sequences, it has a sequence of transformational rules.

    29. How does a grammar produce a sentence?

    First the rules of Phrase structure are applied to construct a terminal string that will

    consist of a sequence of morphemes, not necessarily in the correct order. Then the next

    step, the sequence of transformations T1 ... Tn follows, so that each obligatory

    transformation is applied and certain optional ones. These transformations may

    rearrange strings of morphemes produced by phrase structure rules or may add or

    delete morphemes. Finally, the morphophonemic rules are applied on such a string of

    words, and they convert this string of words into a string of phonemes.

    30. Specify the structural analysis and structural change for the passive

    transformation. Explain!

    The passive transformation applies to strings of the form NP Aux V NP and has

    the effect of interchanging the two noun phrases, adding bybefore the final noun

    phrase, and adding be + en to Aux, as in:

    Structural analysis: NP Aux V Np

    Structural change: X1 X2 X3 X4 X4 X2 -- + be + en X3 by + X!

    31. What is Chomsky concerned with in hisAspects of Theory of syntax?

    In the preface, Chomsy points out that the idea that a language is based on systems of

    rules that is not new (the origin of GG could be traced even in Panini's grammar and

    within nationalistic philosophy of language and mind). He is concerned with some

    theoretical defects discovered in the earlier versions of TG; with the base of the

    syntactic component; and he suggests a revision of the transformation component and

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    its relation to base structures. He also makes an important distinction between

    competence and performance and concludes that the GG is a theory of linguistic

    competence. This study here is primarily concerned with the syntactic component of a

    GG; with its structure.

    32. What is linguistic theory concerned? What does a grammar purport to be?

    Linguistic theory is concerned with primarily with an ideal- speaker-listener, in a

    completely homogenous speech-community, who knows its language perfectly and is

    unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations,

    distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in

    applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance (one of the most cited

    definitions). A grammar of a language purports to be a description of the ideal

    speaker-hearers intrinsic (immanent) competence. If it is, furthermore, perfectly

    explicit, we may call it GG.

    33. Explain the distinction between competence and performance? Compare

    langue- parole?

    Competence is the speaker-hearers knowledge of the language, while performance is

    the actual usage of language in concrete situations. Performance could be a direct

    reflexion of competence only under idealised circumstances, but actually it doesnt

    happen. Natural speech shows numerous faults, and a linguist should determine from

    the data of a performance underlying a system of rules that the speaker- hearer puts in

    performance. Hence, linguistic theory is mentalistic, since it is concerned with

    discovering a mental reality underlying actual behaviour. The distinction between

    competence and performance is related to language- parole distinction of Saussure.

    Langue- parole (language and speech) is actually a differentiation between the

    language and how it is used, which enables these two to be studied as separate entities.

    La Langue is the whole system of language that proceeds and makes speech possible.

    Parole is the concrete use of the language, the actual utterances; external manifestation

    of a language. As a structuralist , Saussure was interested more in language than


    34. What does a term generative grammar mean? What does a grammar


    Chomsky points out that an adequate grammar must assign to each sentence a

    structural description indicating how this sentence is understood by the ideal speaker-

    hearer. By a GG he means simply a system of rules that in explicit ways assigns

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    structural descriptions two sentences. A grammar generates a sentence with a certain

    structural description. Every speaker of language has mastered and internalised a GG,

    but now necessarily is he aware of the rules. A GG should attempt to specify what the

    speaker actually knows.

    35. Explain the distinction between the terms acceptable and grammatical.

    Give example.

    Chomsky uses the term acceptable to refer to utterances that are natural and

    immediately comprehensible; it is different from the term grammatical.

    Acceptability is the concept that belongs to the study of performance, whereas

    grammaticalness belongs to the study of competence. The unacceptable grammatical

    sentences often cannot be used for reasons having to do not with grammar but with

    memory limitations, etc. Example:

    1) Quite a few students who you met who came from NY are friends of mine.

    (more acceptable)

    2) I called the man who wrote the book that you told me about up. (less


    36. What are three major components of generative grammar and what do

    they determine?

    The syntactic, phonological and semantic component

    The syntactic component specifies an infinite set of abstract formal object. Each

    syntactic component contains a lexicon, and each lexical item is specified in the

    lexicon in terms of its intrinsic semantic features. The semantic component

    determines the semantic interpretation of a sentence. The phonological component

    determines the phonetic form of a sentence generated by the syntactic rules. Both,

    the phonological and semantic components are purely interpretive. The syntactic

    component specifies a deep structure of a sentence that determines its semantic

    interpretation; surface structure- determines its phonetic interpretation. Structural


    linguistics based on the assumption that deep and surface structure are the same.

    37. What does Chomsky illustrate with the sentence Flying can be

    dangerous? Explain.

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    Flying planes can be dangerous. The speaker-hearers linguistic intuitions are the

    ultimately standard which determines the accuracy of any grammar, or linguistic

    theory. But Chomsky points out that this tacit (implied) knowledge may not be

    immediately available to the user of the language. If the above sentence is

    presented in an appropriately constructed context, the listener will interpret it

    immediately in unique ways, and fail to detect the ambiguity. He/ she may reject

    the second interpretation as forced/unnatural. Flying planes are dangerous/ flying

    planes is dangerous, both interpretations are assigned to the sentence by the

    grammar he has internalised.

    38. What does a child develop in a process of language acquisition?

    Chomsky claims that a child who has learned a language has developed a internal

    representation of a system of rules that determine how sentences are to be formed,

    used and understood. In other words, the child has developed and internally

    represented a GG. Listening to well-formed sentences as well as non-sentences,

    the child constructs a grammar, a theory of language. Chomsky points out that

    many children acquire first and second language quite successfully even though no

    special cure is taken to teach them.

    39. What should be the main task of linguistic theory? What are linguistic


    The main task of linguistic theory should be to develop an account of linguistic

    universals (the linguistic theory that aims for explanatory adequacy). Chomsky

    makes distinction between formal and substantive universals. Universals are

    certain fixed syntactic categories (noun, verb, etc.) that can be found in syntactic

    representations of the sentences of any language; certain categories which are

    central to the syntax of all languages.

    40. What are rewriting rules? Give their general form and explain.

    System of rewriting rules is the mechanism for generating phrase markers. A

    rewriting rule has a form A Z / X__Y. X and Y are strings of symbols, A is a

    single category symbol, and Z is a string of symbols. The category A is realized as

    the string Z when it is in the environment consisting of X and Y. In this way, a

    derivation is a terminal string. It is constructed by successive application of the

    rewriting rules. Thus the system of rewriting rules serves as a part of GG.

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    41. Sincerity may frighten the boy

    Labeled bracketing


    Three diagram

    (I) S-------->NP-Aux-VP (II) M---->may

    VP------>V-NP N----->sincerity

    NP------->Det-N N------->boy

    NP------->N V------->frighten



    Phrase marketing






    42.Explain the distinction between functional and categorical notions. Give an


    Functional notions- Subject, Predicate, etc. The notion Subject designates a

    grammatcial function rather than a grammatical category. It is an inherently relational

    notion. Categorical notions are those such as Noun Phrase, Verb.

    43.What are syntactic features of words

    E.g. in the sentence Sincerity may frighten the boy, Boy will have the syntactic

    features( Common, Human, etc). In addition the symbols representing lexical

    categories( N, V) will be analyzed by the rules into complex symbols in such a way

    that each complex symbol represents a set of specified syntactic features.

    44.What does the syntactic component of grammar consist of?

    The grammar doesn't contain the rules that introduce the formatives belonging to

    lexical categories. Chomsky points out that the lexical entry can be regarded as a set of

    features, some phonological, some syntactic.

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    45.What is the book Language and Mind about? What does it consist of?

    It consists of the three lectures. 1. Words are signs of natural facts. 2. Particular natural

    facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts. 3. Nature is the symbol of spirit.

    The first lecture: An attempt to evaluate past contribution to the study of mind based

    on research and speculation regarding the nature of language.

    Second Lecture: Devoted to contemporary developments in linguistics having a

    bearing on the study of mind.

    Third lecture: A speculative discussion of directions that the study of mind and

    language might take.

    It is about Chomsky's belief that the most appropriate framework for the study of

    problems of language and mind is the system of ideas developed as part of the

    rationalist psychology of the 17th and 18th centuries, further elaborated in important

    respects by the romantics. Understanding of the human nature.

    46. What is distinctive human feature according to Descartes? What are creative

    aspects of it

    Our rational soul, which allows us to exercise reason and to speak, cannot be

    explained, and Descartes suggests that it is a gift of God. He argues that animals have

    no intelligence, that this is a distinctive feature of humans. Though parrots can imitate

    speech, animals cannot use language to express themselves with the versatility

    displayed by humans. Animals have a number of amazing skills, and Descartes

    suggests that if these skills were a result of intelligence then they would be far more

    intelligent than humans are. But since they cannot speak (animals are similar enough

    to us that if they could speak we would understand them) they cannot have any

    intelligence, and their behavior is governed solely by instinct. Descartes uses these and

    other arguments to assert that we are distinct from animals and that we have an

    immortal soul that will survive our death.

    47. What are three Cartesian observations regarding the creative aspect of

    language use?

    The language creativity is actually a renewal of the same ideas that were present in the

    works of tome linguists and philosophers from earlier centuries.


    Language is creative substance.

    Freedom of thought can only be grounded in the creative use of language.

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    This creativity must be able to think new thoughts, prove to be free of stimuli and

    therefore utterly innovative, coherent and appropriate to situations.

    This is distinctively human ability to express new thoughts and to understand entirely

    new expression of thought, within the framework of an ''instituted language'', a

    language that is a cultural product subject to laws and principles partially unique to it

    and partially reflections of general properties of mind.

    48. What is ''philosophical grammar''?

    Philosophical grammarians had typically maintained that languages vary little in their

    deep structures, though there may be wide variability in surface manifestations. Thus

    there is, in this view, an underlying structure of grammatical relations and categories,

    and certain aspects of human thought and mentality are essentially invariant across

    languages, although languages may differ as to whether they express the grammatical

    relations formally by inflection or word order, for example. Furthermore, an

    investigation of their work indicates that the underlying recursive principles that

    generate deep structure were assumed to be restricted in certain ways for example,

    by the condition that new structures are formed only by the insertion of new

    propositional content, new structures that themselves correspond to actual simple

    sentences, in fixed positions in already formed structures. Similarly, the grammatical

    transformations that form surface structures through reordering, ellipsis, and other

    formal operations must themselves meet certain fixed general conditions, such as those

    discussed in the preceding lecture. In short, the theories of philosophical grammar, and

    the more recent elaborations of these theories, make the assumption that languages

    will differ very little, despite considerable diversity in superficial realisation, when we

    discover their deeper structures and unearth their fundamental mechanisms and


    Chomsky emphasizes that philosophical grammarians had little interest in the

    accumulation of data. Instead, philosophical grammar, developed in opposition to

    descriptive tradition that interpreted the task of the grammarian to be merely that of

    recording and organizing the data of usage.

    49.What is one of the innovations of the Port-Royal Grammar?

    One of the innovations of the Port Royal Grammar was its recognition of the

    importance of the notion of the phrase as a grammatcial unit. Earlier grammar had

    been largely a grammar of word classes and inflections.

    50. What is the Port Royal Theory of deep and surface structure?

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    Deep structure- an abstract level of organization where the basic syntactic relationa are

    represented. A formal structure that relates directly not to a sound but to the meaning.

    Surface structure- What is actually spoken. Corresponds only to a sound, to a

    corporeal aspect of language.

    51. The difference between port royal and modern standard theory

    Chomsky discusses the relation of port royal theory to modern structural and

    descriptive linguistics.tje latter restricts itself to analysis of surface structure ,to formal

    properties that are explicit in the signal and to phrases and units that can be determined

    from the signal by techniques of segmentation and classification

    52.Who is the founder of modern structural linguistics and what are his views?

    The founder is Ferdinand de Saussure.he argued that only proper methods of

    linguistics analysis are segmentation and classification. Applying these methods,the

    linguist determiners the patterns into which the units so analyzed fall.these patterns are

    either syntagmatic (patterns of literal succession in the stream of speech) or

    paradigmatic (relations among units that occupy the same position in the stream of the

    speech). In such taxonomic analysis there is no place for dep structure in the sense of

    philosophical grammar

    53. Which traditions of linguistic research strongly influenced the

    contemporary study?

    There were two productive traditions of research which strongly influenced the

    contemporary study of language. One is the tradition of philosophical grammar

    that flourished from the 17th century through romanticism. The 2nd is the

    structuralist tradition, which has dominated research in the 20th century, at least

    until the early 1950s.

    54. What is the title of the second chapter of L&M and what does Chomsky

    criticize in the beginning?

    In the second chapter Linguistic contributions to the study of mind: present

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    Chomsky first makes critical comments on the structuralist and behaviorist

    approaches to the study of language and mind. In these approaches it is taken for

    granted that a language is a habit structure or a network of associative

    connections. Accordingly, knowledge of language must develops slowly through

    repetition and training. Chomsky believes that an attempt to account for

    knowledge and use of language in these terms has no particular plausibility or


    55. What is the most appropriate framework for the study of language and

    mind according to Ch.

    Ch believes that the most appropriate general framework for the study of problems

    of language and mind is the system of ideas developed as part of the rationalist

    psychology of the 17th and 18th ct, further elaborated in important respects by the

    romantics. According to this traditional conception, a system of prepositions

    expressing the meaning of a sentence is produced in the mind as the sentence is

    realized as a physical signal, the two being related by certain formal operations

    that Ch calls grammatical transformations.

    56. Explain the distinction between surface and deep structure proposed by

    Ch. Give ex.

    Ch distinguishes the surface structure of the sentence, the organization into

    categories and phrases directly associated with the physical signal, from the

    underlying deep structure, also a system of categories and phrases, but with a more

    abstract character. In fact, the deep structure, in the traditional view, is a system of

    propositions, neither of which is asserted, but which interrelate in such a way as to

    express the meaning of a sentence. E.g. the deep structure of the sentence A wise

    man is honest. may be represented by formula [S[NP a man [S [NP man] [VP is

    wisw]]] [VP is honest]] and the surface structure by formula [S[NP a wise man]

    [VP is honest]].

    57. Which operations are performed to form the surface structure of A wise

    man is honest.?

    It is possible to form the surface structure from the deep structure by performing

    the following operations:

    a. Assign the marker wh- to the most deeply embedded NP, man

    b. Replace the NP so marked by who

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    c. Delete who is

    d. Invert man and wise

    58. Ch gives an example of a sentence that is ambiguous in its surface

    structure. Discuss.

    A sentence may be ambiguous in some way that is not indicated by the surface

    structure, e.g. I disapprove of John's drinking. This sentence can refer either to the

    fact of John's drinking or to its character. The ambiguity is resolved, in different

    ways in sentences (1) I disapprove of John's drinking the beer. and (2) I disapprove

    of John's excessive drinking. Ch points our that it is not possible to extend the

    sentence (main example) in both of the ways illustrated in (1) and (2)

    simultaneously. Such extension would give an ungrammatical sentence like * I

    disapprove of John's excessive drinking the beer.

    59. How does Ch answer the question Why study language? in Reflections on


    He points out that there are many possible answers to a simple question: Why

    study language? one reason, and it is the most compelling reason for Ch, is

    because language may be a mirror of mind. Ch believes that by studying

    language we may discover abstract principles that govern its structure and use.

    These principles are universal, derived from mental characteristics of the species.

    A human language is a system of remarkable complexity. Nevertheless, a normal

    child acquires language on relatively slight exposure and without specific training.

    60. What was Russel's question and what was the rationalists' answer? Does

    Ch agree?

    Bertrabd Russel formulated the question: How comes it that human beings, whose

    contacts with the world are brief and personal and limited, are nevertheless able to

    know so much as they do know? In other words, how can we gain such rich

    systems of knowledge, given our fragmentary and impoverished experience? To

    answer R's question, we can know so much because in a sense we already knew it,

    though the data of sense were necessary to evoke and elicit this knowledge. We

    interpret experience as we do because of our special mental design. Ch believes

    that certain elements of the rationalist theories must be discarded, but the general

    outlines seem plausible enough. Investigation of the visual system has shown that

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    much of the detailed structure of the visual system is 'wired in', though triggering

    experience is required to set the system in operation.

    61. What is the empiricist explanation for the acquisition of cognitive structure?

    Does Chomsky agree?

    Empiricists assume that social environment is the dominant factor in development of

    personality, behaviour patterns, and cognitive structures in higher organisms. The

    structures of mind that develop over time are taken to be arbitrary and accidental.

    Empiricist speculate that certain general principles of learning explain the cognitive

    structures attained by humans, structures which incorporate the principles by which

    human behaviour is planned, organised, and controlled. Chomsky disagrees that

    internal states should not be considered in the study of behaviour and claims that

    acquisition of a cognitive structure such as language should be studied just like some

    complex bodily organ. Chomsky believes that mental and physical development

    should not be regarded in different ways.

    62. What is the so-called innateness hypothesis?

    The so-called innateness hypothesis holds that one of the faculties of mind is faculty of

    language; it provides a sensory system for the preliminary analysis of linguistic data

    and a schematism that determines a certain class of grammars

    Grammar is a theory of a particular language, specifying formal and semantic

    properties of an infinite array of sentences. Sentences with particular structure

    constitute the language generated by grammar. Theory of learning incorporates an

    innateness hypothesis. Humes theory proposes specific innate structures of mind and

    explains all human language on the basis of these structures including unconscious and

    innate knowledge.

    63. Is there such a theory as the theory of learning, waiting to be discovered,

    according to Chomsky?

    No! However, variant of empiricism behaviourism includes the term

    learning theory that deals with the relation of experience to behaviour. Humans are

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    specially designed do complex cognitive structures develop rapidly and with little or

    no conscious effort at all.

    When it comes to language in learning theory, Chomsky claims that LT is system of

    mechanisms and principles that work on acquiring knowledge of language i.e.

    acquisition of the specific cognitive structures= grammar.

    64. What is Universal Grammar?

    Universal Grammar is the system of principles, conditions, and rules that are elements

    of properties of all human languages; it expresses the essence of human language; it

    is invariable among humans; it specifies what language learning must achieve if it

    takes place successfully; it is a significant component of learning theory-the attained

    cognitive structures must have UG properties- each human language conforms to UG.

    If we construct a language that is not in line with UG, it cannot be learned by learning


    65. What is the principle of structure dependency? Give ex and discuss

    Structure independent rule- is a rule that involves only analysis into words and the

    property earliest (leftmost) defined on word sequence

    Structure dependent rule- a rule that involves analysis into words and phrases, and the

    property earliest defined as sequence of words analysed into abstract phrases

    (abstract in the sense that neither their boundaries nor categories need to be physically


    The principle of structure- dependence is not learned; it forms part of the conditions

    for language learning; it is universal (for examples pls see handout)

    66. What is the theory of language and how is grammar created according to


    Theory of language is the part of human psychology concerned with one particular

    mental organ i.e. human language. Language faculty creates a grammar due to

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    appropriate and continuing experience; grammar generates sentences with formal and

    semantic properties

    UG is exclusively human faculty since there is no structure similar to it in nonhuman

    organism as well as the capacity for free, appropriate, and creative use of language, as

    an expression of thought with the means provided by the language faculty.

    67. What is the greatest defect of Chomskyan theory according to Searle?

    Searle emphasised that failure to see the essential connection between language and

    communication, and between meaning and speech acts is the greatest defect of the

    Chomskyan theory.

    68. What is the main point of disagreement between Chomsky and Searle? What

    does Chomsky claim?

    Chomsky and Searle disagree about the essential features of language. Chomsky does

    not believe that essential feature is structure but creative use of it and distinctive

    structural properties. Searle stresses the importance of communication, Chomsky

    somewhat agrees because it is possible to use the language with no intention of

    communicating. Chomsky concludes that communication with intention is only one

    function of language.

    69. How did Chomsky react on Strawsons argument against the theory of formal


    Strawson speaks of struggle over central issue of philosophy between theorists of

    communication-intention and theorists of formal semantics. Strawson opts for the

    theory of communication-intention. Chomsky considers his argument against the

    theory of formal semantics. The organism acquires a system of language that includes

    meaning-determining rules- these rules are used by speaker to express his beliefs.

    The learner has to no reason for acquiring the language; he does not choose to learn

    the language and cannot fail to learn under normal conditions; having acquired the

    system, the person can choose to use it or not. Strawson did not offer plausible

    argument that communication is essential foundation

    70. What is a base component and what is transformational component of


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    Base component generates a class of initial phrase markers; consists of 2

    subcomponents: categorical component and lexicon. Categorical component is basic

    abstract structures by means of rewriting rules that state how syntactic category can

    be analysed in a sequence of such categories (S sentence consists of NP followed by

    VP). Lexical category- Noun, Verb, Adj etc.

    Transformational component of grammar- the rule that carries out the operation of

    preposing the verb in order to get the corresponding yes-no question

    Various components of the base interact to generate initial phrase markers; and the

    transformational component coverts initial phrase marker into phonologically

    represented sentence with its phrase marker.

    71. In extended standard theory Chomsky dropped the term deep structure.


    Chomsky dropped this term for several reasons. In the standard theory, deep structures

    were characterized in terms of two properties: their role in syntax, initiating

    transformational derivations, and their role in semantic interpretation. It was

    postulated that deep structure give all the information required for determining the

    meaning of sentences. The extended standard theory postulates that surface structures

    contribute in a definite way to semantic interpretation. In the version that Chomsky

    outlines here, he suggests that perhaps all semantic information is determined by a

    somewhat enriched notion of surface structure. In this theory, then, the syntactic and

    semantic properties of the former deep structure are dissociated. Therefore, in order to

    avoid the confusion, Chomsky drops this term.

    72. Give a diagram representing the general structure for grammar (sentence

    gram,.) explain

    Sentence grammar: B-> IPM ->T->SS->SR1->LF->SR2->LF->meaning

    This means that the rules of the base (B) including the rules of the categorical

    component and the lexicon, form initial phrase markers (IPM). The rules of the

    transformational component (T) convert these to surface structure (SS), which are

    converted to logical forms (LF) by certain rules of semantic interpretation (SR1: the

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    rules involving bound anaphora, scope, thematic relations, etc.). This constitutes

    sentence grammar. Certain general conditions on rules apply throughout this system.

    The logical forms so generated are subject to further interpretation by other semantic

    rules (SR) interacting with other cognitive structures, giving fuller representations of


    73. What does Chomsky point out in the preface ofKnowledge of language?

    Chomsky points put that for many years, he has been intrigued by two problems

    concerning human knowledge. The first is the problem of explaining how we can

    know so much given that we have such limited evidence (Chomsky named it Platos

    problem). The second is the problem of explaining how we can know so little, given

    that we have so much evidence (Chomsky named it Orwells problem).

    74. What is Platos problem and what is Orwells problem?

    The essence of Platos problem was expressed by Bertrand Russell in his later work in

    the form of the question: how comes it that human beings, whose contacts with the

    world are brief and personal and limited, are nevertheless able to know as much as

    they do know? the crucial problem for Chomsky is to account for the specificity and

    the richness of the cognitive systems that arise in the individual on the basis of the

    limited information available.

    Orwells problem is to explain why we know and understand so little, even though the

    evidence available to us is so rich. Orwell was impressed with the ability of totalitarian

    systems to install beliefs that are firmly held and widely accepted although they are

    completely without foundation and often not in accordance with obvious facts about

    the world around us. It is necessary to discover the institutional and other factors that

    block insight and understanding in crucial areas of our lives and ask why they are


    75. How does Chomsky explain the notion of generative grammar in the first

    chapter of KoL?

    The generative grammar of a particular language is a theory that is concerned with the

    form and meaning of expressions of this language. Chomsky points out that

    generative means nothing more than explicit. It is concerned with those aspects of

    form and meaning that are determined by the language faculty, which is understood

    to be a particular component of human mind. The nature of this faculty is the subject

    matter of a general theory of linguistic structure that aims to discover the framework

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    of principles and elements common to human languages. This theory is often called

    universal grammar.

    76.what are three basic questions for the study of language that Chomsky


    The basic questions are:

    a. What constitutes knowledge of language?

    b. How is knowledge of language acquired?

    c. How is knowledge of language put to use?

    77. Chomsky claims that language is a clear illustration of Platos problem.


    Language is a clear illustration of Platos problem, the problem of poverty of

    stimulus, of accounting for the richness, complexity, and specificity of shared

    knowledge, given the limitations of the data available. A familiar example of the

    problem of poverty of evidence is the structure of rules, the fact that without

    instruction or direct evidence, children unerringly use computationally complexstructure- dependent rules rather than computationally simple rules that involve only

    the predicate leftmost in a linear sequence of words.

    78. What is knowledge of languageand can it be described as a practical ability?

    Knowledge of language is often characterized as practical ability to speak and

    understand. However, Chomsky emphasizes that two people may share exactly the

    same knowledge of language but differ in their ability to put this knowledge in use.

    Ability to use language may improve or decline without any change on knowledge.

    This ability may also be impaired, due to brain injury, with no loss of knowledge,

    which is obvious on cases when injury leading to impairment recedes and lost ability

    is recovered. Therefore, Chomsky concludes that knowledge cannot be properly

    described as a practical ability.

    79. The commonsense notion of language has a socio-political dimension. Explain:

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    For example, Chinese is regarded as a language, although the various Chinese

    dialects are as diverse as the several Romance languages. On the other hand, Dutch

    and German are regarded as two separate languages, although some dialects of

    German are very close to dialects that we cal, Dutch and are not mutually

    intelligible with others that we call German. Max Weinreich once said that a

    language is a dialect with an army and navy.

    80. What is externalized language?

    Chomsky refers to technical concepts as instances of externalized language (E-

    language), in the sense that the same rubric is understood independently of the

    properties of the mind/brain. He includes under the same rubric the notion of language

    as a collection of actions or behaviours of some sort. From a point of view such as

    this, a grammar is a collection of descriptive statements concerning the E- language,

    the actual or potential speech events. Sometimes, grammar has been regarded as a

    property of E-language.

    81. What is internalized language?

    I-language refers to a notion of structurein the mind of the speaker. The I-language

    is some element of the mind of the person who knows the language, acquired by the

    learner and used by the speaker-hearer.

    Taking language to be I-language, the grammar would then be a theory of the I-

    language, which is the object under investigation. Chomsky suggests that for a person

    H to know the language L means that H's mind/brain is in a certain state. More

    specifically, it means that the language faculty is in a certain state SL. One task of the

    brain sciences is to discover the mechanisms that are the physical realization of the

    state SL.

    Chomsky regards I-language as an entity abstracted from a state of the language

    faculty, the latter being one component of the mind. Then, for H to know L is for H to

    have a certain I-language. The statements of a grammar are statements of the theory of

    mind about the I-language, hence statements about structures of the brain. UG is now

    construed as the theory of human I-languages, a system of conditions deriving from

    the human biological endowment that identifies the I-languages that are humanly

    accessible under normal conditions.

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    Summarizing the discussion, Chomsky gives the following general picture: the

    language faculty is a distinct system of the mind/brain, with an initial state S 0 common

    to the species and apparently unique to it. Given appropriate experience, this faculty

    passes from the state S0 to some relatively stable steady state Ss, which then undergoes

    only peripheral modification (e.g. acquiring new vocabulary items). The attained state

    incorporates an I-language (it is the state of having or knowing a particular I-language)

    UG theory is the theory of S0. Particular grammars are theories of various I-languages.

    The steady state has two components that can be distinguished analytically: a

    component that is specific to the language in question and the contribution of the

    initial state. The former constitutes what is learned.

    In conclusion, Chomsky defines I-language as a system of rules and principles that

    assign representations of form and meaning to linguistic expressions.

    82. What are the reasons for the shift of focus from the study of E-language to the

    study of the I-language?

    The shift from E-language to I-language is a shift from the study of language regarded

    as an externalized object to the study of the system of knowledge of language attained

    and internally represented in the mind/brain. A generative grammar purports to depict

    exactly what one knows when one knows a language, that is, what has been learned, as

    supplemented by innate principles. UG is a characterization of these innate,

    biologically determined principles, which constitute one component of the human

    mind-language faculty.

    83. What are some consequences of the shift of focus from E-to I-language?

    A study of English is a study of the realization of the initial state S0 under particular

    conditions. Since S0 is a constant, a study of some other language, e.g. Japanese, must

    be an instantiation of the same initial state under different conditions. Therefore

    investigation of Japanese might show that the assumption concerning S0 derived from

    the study of English were incorrect. It means that the assumptions concerning English

    might provide the wrong answers for Japanese, and after correcting them on this basis

    we might be led to modify the postulated grammar of English. Chomsky concludes

    that evidence from Japanese can bear on the correctness of a theory of S0 and

    therefore it can have indirect bearing on the choice of the grammar that attempts to

    characterize the I-language attained by a speaker of English. A theory of one language

    is subject to change on the basis of evidence concerning other languages.

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    84. What are some consequences of the shift of focus from E-language to I-


    The shift of point of view to a mentalist interpretation of the study of language was

    one factor in the development of the contemporary cognitive sciences, and constituted

    a step toward the incorporation of the study of language within the natural sciences.

    85. Which types of rules were proposed in the Standard Theory? Explain.

    Phrase structure rules and transformational rules. Phrase structure rules form phrase-

    markers, namely, representations in which categorical structure (noun phrase, pp

    phrase, clause etc.) is indicated, whereas transformational rules convert phrase-

    markers into other phrase-markers.

    86. Give the diagram representing the organization of a rule system of grammar

    in Extended Standard Theory. Explain.





    (III) (IV)

    PF LF

    Phrase structure rules (I) of a very simple kind generate an infinite class of D-

    structures that express semantically relevant grammatical functions and relations.

    Transformational rules (II) convert D-structures to S-structures in which the same

    relations (and others) are also represented through the medium of traces. Phonological

    rules and other rules (III) convert S-structures to phonetic representations with their

    surface phrasal categories (PF, or phonetic form; surface structure). And

    independently, rules of the LF component (IV) convert S-structures to representations

    in LF, where scope and other properties are directly represented. PF and LF constitute

    the interface between language and other cognitive systems, yielding direct

    representations of sound on the one hand and meaning on the other as language and

    other systems interact, including perceptual and production systems, conceptual

    systems and pragmatic systems. So the levels if representation are D-structure, S-

    structure, PF, and LF. The rules are the phrase structure and transformational rules

    generating D-and S-structure representations, and the rules of the PF and LF


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    87. The Minimalist Program shares several assumptions with its predecessors.


    One shared assumption is that there exists a component of the brain/mind dedicated to

    language - the language faculty - interacting with other systems. Another assumption

    is that the language faculty has at least two components: a cognitive system that stores

    information, and performance system that access that information and use it in various

    ways. Chomsky is primarily concerned with the cognitive system.

    Performance systems are presumably at least in part language-specific, hence

    components of the language faculty. But they are generally assumed not to be specific

    to particular languages: they do not vary in the manner of the cognitive system, as

    linguistic environments vary.

    88. What are external systems that the cognitive system interacts with and what

    are two interfaces?

    The cognitive system interacts with the performance systems by means of levels of

    linguistic representation. A more specific assumption is that the cognitive system

    interacts with just two such external systems: the articulatory-perceptual system A-P

    and the conceptual-intentional system C-I. Accordingly, the C-I interface. This

    double interface property is one of the ways to express the traditional description of

    language as sound with meaning, traceable at least back to Aristotle.

    89. What was the central objective of generative grammar and what was new in

    the P&P approach?

    The central objective of generative grammar was to abstract general principles from

    the complex rule systems devised for particular languages, leaving rules that are

    simple, constrained in their operation by these UG principles. These efforts

    culminated in the P&P approach. This constituted a radical break from the rich

    tradition of thousands of years of linguistic inquiry. In contrast, the P&P approach

    maintains that the basic ideas of tradition, incorporated without great change in early

    generative grammar, are misguided in principle, in particular, the idea that a language

    consists of rules for forming grammatical constructions (relative clauses, passives,

    etc.) The P&P approach held that languages have no rules in anything like the familiar

    sense, and no theoretically significant grammatical constructions. There are universal

    principles and a finite array of options as to how they apply (parameters), but no

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    language has particular rules and no grammatical constructions of the traditional sort

    within or across language.

    90. What does the cognitive system consist of for each particular language?


    The cognitive system for each particular language consists of a computational system

    CS and a lexicon. The lexicon specifies the elements that CS selects and integrates to

    form linguistic expressions. The lexicon should provide just the information that is

    required for CS, without redundancy and in some optional form, excluding whatever is

    predictable by principles of UG or properties of the language in question. Virtually all

    items of the lexicon belong to substantive categories, which Chomsky takes to be

    noun, verb, adjective and particle. The other categories Chomsky calls functional

    categories (tense, complementizers, etc.)

    91. How are language differences explained in P&P approach?

    Within the P&P approach the problems of typology and language variation arise in

    somewhat different from than before. Language differences and typology should be

    reducible to choice of values of parameters. A major research problem is to determine

    just what these options are, and in what components of language they are to be found.

    One proposal is that parameters are restricted to formal features with no interpretation

    at the interface. A still stonger one is that they are resticted to formal features of

    functional categories. In this context, language acquisition is interpreted as the process

    of fixing the parameters of the initial state in one of the permissible ways. In the P&P

    model the question of explanatory adequacy becomes the question of determining how

    values are set by experience for finitely many universal parameters.

    92. What is the first part of the interview in OnNature and Language devoted to?


    The first part of the interview is devoted to the roots of the Minimalist Program.

    Chomsky has often characterized the approach that emerged from his Pisa seminars in

    1979 as a major change of direction in the history of generative grammar. In order to

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    give an accurate descriptive account for the infinite range of structures of language it

    seemed necessary to have a huge proliferation of rule systems of a great variety,

    different rules for different grammatical constructions. For example, relative clauses

    look different from interrogative clauses, and the VP in Hungarian is different from

    the NP and they are all different from English. So the system exploded in complexity.

    On the other hand, at the same time an effort was made to deal with so-called logical

    problem of language acquisition. Children acquiring the knowledge of language do not

    have that much data. Nevertheless, somehow children are reaching various states of

    knowledge which have apparently great complexity, differentiation and diversity. The

    conclusion was that the basis structure of language is essentially uniform and is

    coming from inside, not from outside.

    93. What did Chomsky postulate in his Pisa seminar in 1979?

    Somehow all Chomsky's work around On Nature and Language came together for the

    first time in the Pisa seminars in 1979 when a method arose for eliminating rules and

    constructions altogether. Chomsky concluded at that time that there are no complex

    rules for complex constructions because there are not any rules and there are not any

    constructions. Instead, he postulated that there are just extremely general principles,

    like move anything anywhere under fixed conditions, and then there are options that

    have to be fixed, various parametric choices. Some of these parametric choices are: the

    head of the construction first or last, mull subject or not a null subject, and so on.

    Within this framework of fixed principles and options to be selected, the rules and the

    construction disappear. In the new theoretical framework there are no constructions,

    but just the option of dislocating something somewhere else under certain conditions.

    In certain cases this dislocation produces what is traditionally called the passive and in

    other cases it produces a question.

    94. What is the second part of the interview with Chomsky devoted to? Explain.

    The second part of the interview is devoted to perfection of language as a system and

    imperfection inside the language. The Minimalist Program explores the thesis that

    human language may be a perfect system, a system optimally designed to meet

    certain conditions imposed by other cognitive system that the language faculty

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    interacts with. Chomsky distinguishes two question: The first: What do we mean by

    optimality? Possible answers could be: Few rules is better than more rules, less

    memory used in computation is better than more memory used, etc.

    The second question is: What conditions is the system supposed to meet? There can be

    various points of view. According to a standard functionalist point of view, the

    appropriate question is: Is the system designed for its use? So, is it well designed for

    the uses to which people put it? And the answer is negative. In some sense the system

    is not well designed for use. That raises the next question: Can we find other

    conditions such that language is well designed, optimal for those conditions? Chomsky

    thinks that we can, but from a different perspective.

    So, instead of asking the standard functionalist question, another question should be

    asked: Is it well designed for interaction with the system that are internal to the mind?

    The natural approach has always been: Is it well designed for use, understood typically

    as use for communication? Chomsky thinks that is the wrong question. The use of

    language for communication might turn out to be a kind of epiphenomenon. It might

    turn out that it is not optimal for some of the ways in which we want to use it. The

    system is not well designed in many functional respects. But there is a totally separate

    question: Is it well designed with regard to the internal systems with which it must

    interact? Chomsky conclude that this is the question that the Minimalist Program tries

    to answer.

    95. What are imperfections inside the language according to Chomsky?

    Chomsky considers morphology of natural languages as a very striking imperfection,

    at least superficially. Chomsky as the question: Why should language have

    morphology, why should it have this apparent imperfection? He points out that the

    issue of imperfection concerns only one part of morphology. For example, plurality on

    nouns is not really an imperfection. It is necessary to distinguish singular and plural,

    an there are sensible reasons why plural should be an inflection. What is an

    imperfection of plurality on verbs? Why is it there? It is already present on the noun,

    so why is it necessary on the verb, or on the adjective? Inflection for number looks

    reduntant there, and that is an imperfection. In other words, that feature, or that

    occurence of the feature, that is,plurality on the verb, is not interpreted. The thing that

    is agreeing , presumably the verb, the adjective, the article, and so on, they all seem to

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    have uninterpretable feature, that is, features that are not independently interpreted by

    the outside systems. Another interesting case is in fact Case. There is a split between

    the Cases that have semantic properties, like Dative, and the ones that do not, like

    Nominative and Accusative.

    96. Which interface condition has to be satisfied by the computational system?


    One of the properties of the computational system is that, minimally, it has to satisy

    the interface condition: expression have to be intepretable at the interface. It is not

    possible to have things at the interface that the other system cannot read. For example,

    at the sesorimotor level it is not possible to have a word that was not spelled out

    phonetically because the sensimotor system would not know what to do with it. For

    example, an ortographic word cannot appear at that level .

    Somehow the computational system is eliminating all these uniterpretable features.

    The question is: How and when will it eliminate them? The natural answer is that they

    will eliminated once they have done their job. If their job is to implement dislocation,

    then they will be elimanated after dislocation. So, once these features have done their

    job, they cannot do it again.

    97. What is the general structure of clauses according to Chomsky? Explain.

    Regarding the general structure of clauses, Chomsky agrees whith the suggestion that

    the clause seems to be of the general form: [. . . C . . . [ . . . T . . . [ . . . V . . . ] ] ],

    where V is the verbal head of the configuration in which deep semantic roles are

    assigned, T is the locus of tense and event structure, and C (complementizer) is a kind

    of force indicator distinguishing declarative, interrogative, etc. But he points out that

    this is only a first approximation: the position indicated by . . . have a rich structure.

    The left periphery includes not only force indicators, themselves differentiated, but

    also at least fixed positions for topic and focus.

    98. Explain the distinction between two levels of empirical adequacy.

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    There are two levels of empirical adequacy: descriptive adequacy, achieved when a

    fragment of grammar correctly describes an aspect of the speaker's competence, and

    explanatory adequacy, achieved when a descriptively adequate analysis is completed

    by a plausible hypothesis on its acquistion. The standard way to express this

    distinction is to take a descriptively adequate theory to be a true theory of an attained

    state, whereas and explanatorily adequate theory is true theory of the initial state. All

    theories have to be descriptively adequate, meaning true theories of whatever stat is

    being described. At the initial state it has been called explanatory adequacy, at a later

    state, descriptive adequacy.

    99. Chomsky claims that language is a system that is essentially uniform. Explain.

    Chomsky claims that language is a system that is essentially uniform. There seems to

    be no variation in the species. In other words, children learn any language anywhere,

    which means that the basic system is uniform, and that since its emergence there has

    not been any significant evolution. Nobody has found any genetic differences.

    However, language is different from most other biological system in that the physical,

    external constrains that it has to meet are extremely weak. The fundamental condition

    that language has to meet is that it can be use. The connection to the outside word is

    extremely weak and therefore language could be very stable, because there is no point

    in changing it.

    100. In the final part of the interview Chomsky discusses the sensimotor

    interface. Explain.

    In the last part of the inteview Chomsky deals with scope ot the Minimalist Program

    and perspectives. It has always been assumed that there are two interfaces. This goes

    back to Aristotle: there is a sound and a meaning. Chomsky first discusses the

    sensimotor interface. It has always been assumed that there is one, but Chomsky

    thinks that is not in the least obvious. There might be different ones for articulation

    and perception, and furthermore it is not obvious that there is one interface for either

    articulation or perception. The features at some level are giving instructions to the

    articulators. Interpretation could be on line and cyclic, and even at each stage of the

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    cycle, instruction to articulators and the perceptual apparatus might be distinct in

    character and distributed within the computation.