Goran H’s recent comments

Re Goron H’s recent comments:

I agree that it is not clear that (as Chomskyans claim) children learn their first languages ‘quickly and easily’ (except by comparison with most aduilts learning a second language). But surely it is not clear that they learn them slowly and with difficulty either. As Geoff Sampson points out somewhere (in agreeing with Goran & me on the initial point), we have no basis for comparison, i.e. we know of no other language-using species who might acquire their (similar?) languages more or less readily than Homo sapiens does. Given this fact, the only way to arrive at such judgments with confidence would be to show that there are clear reasons (psychological, etc) why humans should not learn their first languages as quickly and easily as they actually do, and that the facts on this front are thus genuinely surprising. I do not think that this has been achieved. Essentially, the Chomskyan view of this appears to be merely part of that only-partly-rational belief system.

I myself seem to have coined the term ‘skeptical linguistics’, but in any case it could NOT usefully be used to include Chomskyan linguistics or any other kind of linguistics deemed dubious or worse. If Chomskyan linguistics really is as ‘bad’ as Goran holds (and I obviously accept that it has many basic faults), it should perhaps be classified as ‘fringe’ linguistics, ‘nonsense linguistics’, or similar. This is not skeptical linguistics but the kind of material which skeptical linguistics CRITIQUES. See Chapter 12 of my book for mainstream and non-mainstream critiques of mainstream linguistics (including a summary of some of Goran’s own cogent mainstream critiques of Chomskyan linguistics).

Mark N

4 Responses to Goran H’s recent comments

  1. Bob says:

    Sorry, I’m just not sure why this isn’t in the comments of the original post? 🙂

    • marknewbrook says:

      Sorry too, Bob; I tried to put it there (did it not go there?). Then I thought on & thought it might be worth posting separately. Was I wrong? Lety me know! Cheers! Mark (It’s very early here!)


  2. Bob says:

    Oh, the thread’s usually where these would go, but if someone says something that you think would make a good post, then you give it it’s own treatment using a title that reflects the content (so it shows up in google searches). Recent comments…probably not going to be picked up. 🙂

    • marknewbrook says:

      OK, thanks, Bob! It IS on the thread; I’ll re-post it with its own title and you can delete the first one if you like! Sorry again! Mark


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