Generative linguistics: ‘Galilean style’

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Abstract

Generative linguistics is often claimed by Chomsky to have a 'Galilean style', which is intended to position linguistics as a science continuous with standard practise in the natural sciences. These claims, however, are more suggestive than explanatory. The paper will, first, explain just what a Galilean style is. It will then be argued that its application to two key notions in generative linguistics - the competence/performance distinction (with reference to centre-embedding) and the notion of computation - demands a departure from what we might expect of a Galilean style. In this sense, the epithet is misleading. It will also be shown, however, that the 'Galilean' label is appropriate once we factor in the difference between a science concerned with kinematics (the relations between objects in space and time) and one concerned with language.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101585
JournalLanguage Sciences
Volume100
Early online date7 Sep 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

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