2. Psychological and Computational Models of Sentence Processing

Last time, I argued that there are substantive open questions about whether the theoretical constructs of formal linguistics play any role in the psychological processes underlying language use. Let’s now address those questions. When people talk about “the psychological reality of syntax”, there are (at least) two importantly different types …

1. The Ontology, Epistemology, and Methodology of Linguistics

There are, broadly speaking, three competing frameworks for answering the foundational questions of linguistic theory—cognitivism (e.g., Chomsky 1995, 2000), platonism (e.g., Katz 1981, 2000), and nominalism (e.g., Devitt 2006, 2008). Platonism is the view that the subject matter of linguistics is an uncountable set of abstracta—entities that are located outside …

Psychosyntax: The Nature of Grammar and Its Place in the Mind (Intro)

In his groundbreaking Aspects of the Theory of Syntax (1965), Noam Chomsky first made explicit what is now arguably the dominant view concerning the aims and objects of linguistic inquiry. Rather than studying the sounds and inscriptions that we produce and comprehend, or the social conventions that govern linguistic usage, Chomsky …