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Contemporary Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Contemporary Linguistics and Cognitive Science
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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 Pвnini, 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 are permitted for this set of words would have to refer to the part of speech each word represents. These sentences demonstrate that nouns may occur both before verbs and after verbs and that articles, when present, must be placed before the nouns they refer to. But the rules would also make clear that not all sentences contain nouns that are preceded by an article:
Babies cry
is a perfectly good English sentence, yet there is no the or a before babies. Nor, for that matter, is there a noun after the verb. So the rules would specify that a verb need not be followed by a noun.
The rules Chomsky formulated making all of this explicit are written, in their most basic form for the simplest of sentences, as follows: Letting S stand for the sentence, N for nouns, V for verbs, and Art for articles, and an arrow, > , for the way in which S can be expanded to include its elements,
S > (Art) N V (Art) (N).
S can be rewritten or expanded as (i.e., the sentence contains) an article followed by a noun followed by a verb followed by an article followed by a noun—in that order.

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Реферат на тему: Contemporary Linguistics and Cognitive Science

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