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НазваContemporary Linguistics and Cognitive Science (реферат)
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Реферат на тему:


Contemporary Linguistics and Cognitive Science


Noam Chomsky


Sobel S.P. The Cognitive Sciences:


An Interdisciplinary Approach. – London; Toronto:


Mayfield Publishing Company, 2001. – pp. 159-167.


The impetus that set the field of linguistics on its current path came

from the publication of Chomsky's Syntactic Structures (1957) and

Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965). These works ignited a revolution

in linguistics, placing it squarely back into the domain of the mind and

determining the direction it has followed ever since.


What Chomsky contributed initially was a shift of focus to the

(vast and largely unconscious) set of rules he hypothesized must exist

in the minds of speakers and hearers in order for them to produce and

understand their native language or languages. Like P?nini, he was

concerned with discovering, isolating, and pinpointing these rules, to

make their formulation precise and predictive. But, as a 20th-century

researcher, he was working within the contemporary framework of science.

Scientific effort requires abandoning vagueness in favor of focusing on

the observable specifics, which alone lead to productive hypotheses. But

unlike the behaviorists, Chomsky based his hypothesis on the assumption

of a capacity in the brain that functions without the conscious

awareness of the person in whom this functioning is taking place, and

which it is indeed possible and profitable to study. The data provided

by language permit us to infer what must be taking place as language is

produced. In the process, Chomsky proposed a method of formalizing the

rules of the components of language. In view of the impact on and

pervasiveness of this approach in linguistic research in the second half

of the 20th century, a brief introduction is in order.


The first component of language Chomsky addressed was the syntactic

component—the portion of one's linguistic competence that handles the

arrangement of words into sentences. A simple sentence serves as an

example of what formal rules must contain if they are to be capable of

generating such a sentence:


The cat chased a mouse.


This sentence contains five separate words, some of which—the cat, a

mouse— "feel" as though, when taken together, they form a somewhat

larger unit. The words in each grouping must occur in this order *cat

the and *mouse a are not permissible English combinations. (The asterisk

preceding each such formulation is, by convention, a sign that what

follows is not grammatical in the language.) It is also true that in

English one or the other of these combinations may come first and the

verb, in this case chased, must come between them. The following

ordering would also be fine for English, though it expresses a somewhat

unusual situation:


A mouse chased the cat.


Also perfectly good sentences of English are these two:


A cat chased the mouse.


The mouse chased a cat.


A rule that would specify that these four orderings are just those that

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