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Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origins and Use (Convergence)
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Knowledge of Language: Its Nature, Origins and Use (Convergence)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Attempts to indentify the fundamental concepts of language, argues that the study of language reveals hidden facts about the mind, and looks at the impact of propaganda.
Published December 15th 1985 by Praeger (first published January 1st 1966)
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With this book Chomsky,

Chomsky, like all good politicians, has changed his mind on how the mind works.

His original theory was that brains are equipped with a "universal grammar"
that predisposes us to learn languages,
and that the sentences of a language can be accounted for by a set of rules (its grammar).

Now he believes that there is no universal grammar,
just a circuit in the brain that is more or less plastic:
change the connections and you get one or the other language.

There are no rules
The chapter on rule-following in this book is intriguing. Chomsky responds to Kripke's claims in Wittgenstein on Rule-Following that Wittgenstein's reflections on rule-following pose a problem for linguistic theory. Chomsky's reply is surprising: he says that rules have a perfectly legitimate role to play in linguistic theory, even though they aren't accessible to consciousness and don't justify any particular response. They are like explanatory posits in any physical theory. So Chomsky doesn't ...more
T. Smith
This book was my introduction to Chomsky. The final chapter gives a taste of his political writing.
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Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is credited with the creation of the theory of generative grammar, considered to be one of the most significant contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century. H
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