Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chomsky vs. Pullum: More Linguistics Wars?

The LINGUIST list just posted a discussion note by Geoff Pullum about a talk by Noam Chomsky at University College London, here. To folks in the field, these are familiar themes and of course these are two major figures who've been having this discussion for decades. Still, it's a good update in some ways.

I haven't seen much in the blogosphere yet about this, though Bioling√ľ√≠stica has covered it (scroll down below the LINGUIST post to see the real commentary) and Replicated Typo. I suspect there'll be more coming. In the meantime, I'd be curious what our readers think about the substance of this (i.e., let's not belabor the silliness about NSF funding).

Update, Monday 1:30: See now this response.  Maybe we'll get some real discussion going here ...

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whoa, thanks for the link. Good to see Pullum trying to handle these problems head-on.

Anonymous said...

OK, not to 'belabor the silliness' about NSF, but I think the funding rate is more like 12-15%.

Anonymous said...

What an attention hog.

Mr. Verb said...

Pullum? Or Chomsky? I really don't particularly think that either one of them is particularly out for attention at this point ...

Anonymous said...

Pullum's who I had in mind, Chomsky was just giving the talk he was invited to give.

Mr. Verb said...

Aha, OK, that makes sense. But this is just another chapter in an old battle, right?

Anonymous said...

One-sided battle, though.

I mean, if you watch the video, the guy gets a seat in the front row center, asks not one but two questions. Chomsky gets the last word at the talk, and Pullum can't stand that so he grabs a Linguist List mike just to keep it going. Notice he doesn't go after any of the hard stuff from Chomsky's talk, just his hyperbole about NSF grants and the like.

Mr. Verb said...

Yes, true.