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Teacher Education for Languages with Technology / Formation des enseignants de langue avec les TICE
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Chomsky Was Right, We Possess An Internal Grammar

Chomsky Was Right, We Possess An Internal Grammar | TELT | Scoop.it

A team of neuroscientists has found new support for MIT linguist Noam Chomsky’s decades-old theory that we possess an “internal grammar” that allows us to comprehend even nonsensical phrases.

 

 

Shona Whyte's insight:

Poeppel: "Because we went to great lengths to design experimental conditions that control for statistical or sound cue contributions to processing, our findings show that we must use the grammar in our head,” explains Poeppel. “Our brains lock onto every word before working to comprehend phrases and sentences. The dynamics reveal that we undergo a grammar-based construction in the processing of language.”

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Breffni O'Rourke's curator insight, January 11, 2016 8:18 AM

Via Shona Whyte, definitely one for the to-read list. I'll be interested to see whether the study shows that rules are the ONLY mechanism for parsing, or that it is one mechanism available in special conditions such as the ones the researchers created in the lab.

 

NB: in the Neuroscience News write-up, they say that we can recognise Chomsky's famous example “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously” as simultaneously nonsensical but grammatically well-formed because "the statistical relations between words are non-existent". Not so: see http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000025.html


 

 

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Universal Grammar: a scientific idea ready for retirement

Universal Grammar: a scientific idea ready for retirement | TELT | Scoop.it

It's time to retire Universal Grammar. It had a good run, but there's nothing much it can bring us now in terms of what we want to know about human language. 

Shona Whyte's insight:

Benjamin Bergen argues that Chomsky's big idea has run its course.

http://www.edge.org/memberbio/benjamin_k_bergen

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