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Wetenschapsfilosofie Engels W1-2 Cheat Sheet by

Wetenschapsfilosofie Engels


Noam Chomsky / Generative Grammar
➝ Primary subject matter: Abstract universal principles that explain the properties of specific languages
➝ The essence of our language is innate
➝ The basis of language is universal
➝ Semantics and pragmatics are not a part of the study of language (Chomsky)
Descri­ptive grammar with a penchant for judgment elicit­ation and intuition
➝ Goal: An intern­alized generative device that charac­terizes an infinite set of expres­sions


Edward Sapir
➝ "­Lan­guage is primarily a cultural or social produc­t."
➝ Primary subject matter: Linguistic commun­ica­tion, cognition, variation and change
➝ Cognitive, cultural, historical and evolut­ionary explan­ations of linguistic phenomena
➝ Children's language as a series of stages in an ontoge­netic process of developing adult competence
➝ Goal: A mainly conven­tional and culturally transm­itted system for linguistic commun­ication


Leonard Bloomfield / "­str­uct­ura­lis­ts"
➝ Primary subject matter: Language use: structural properties of expres­sions and languages
➝ Use of corpora
➝ Descri­ptions of expression structures and interr­ela­tions
Prediction of properties
Patterns inferable from accessible features of language use
➝ Goal: A grasp of the distri­but­ional properties of a language


Indivi­dual: strictly a property of individual human beings, not groups or commun­ities.
Internal: meaning is internal and a language is a state your mind/brain is in.
Intens­ional: a language is a specific procedure, generating infinitely many expres­sions of that language.

➝ Essent­ialist notion.
➝ Study of language in isolation.
➝ Two people could know different I-lang­uages yet generate the same string of words.


Extens­ional: resear­ch-­based on attested utterances or extens­ionally definable objects.
External: view that conceives of a language as a public, inters­ubj­ect­ively accessible system used by a community of people.

➝ Other speakers can be involved in the study of a language, not just one object.
➝ Essent­ialists oppose this notion.


Essent­ialist distin­ction (Chomsky)
Compet­ence: what knowing a language confers, a grasp of all sentences
Perfor­mance: real-time use of a language

Criticism: "The structure that underlines a language use reflects the operation of general principles of human cognition, they shape how individual speakers and hearers represent form and meanin­g."


Chomsky: "­Sem­antics are merely a part of an interface level/form of syntax and are not related to the language facult­y." (not all Essent­ialists agree with this view)
Bloomfield: "It is okay to assign semantics to other fields than language because of the underd­eve­loped state of semantic resear­ch."­

Autonomy thesis: syntactic form is indepe­ndent from semantics and pragma­tics.


Ordinal scale: a partial ordering equiva­lence in accept­ability or ranking in degree of unacce­pta­bility.
Interval scale: a measure of distance between ordinal positions.
Magnitude estimation: a measure of subjects' judgments of physical stimuli on an interval scale.


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