Re: Chomsky

Linda K. Watts (lkwatts@ALF.UCCS.EDU)
Tue, 5 Dec 1995 06:48:48 -0800

Another couple of books to study in regards to Chomsky's
theretical contribution: Charles Hockett, THE STATE OF THE ART
(an oldie but goodie);and Geoffrey Sampson, SCHOOLS OF
LINGUISTICS. Several anthropologists have used Chomsky's
notion of generativism in anthropology; I've noticed there's
even a new book out called GENERATIVE ANTHROPOLOGY (author?).
Scheffler's 'extensionist' kinship theory and Lounsbury's
'reduction rule' approach are generative models of kin term
systems. Sociolinguists like Wardaugh (also see John Lyons'
often point out that the competence/performance distinction is
often erroneously equated with Saussure's langue/ parole
(and / langage) distinction. Chomsky has been interpreted
by sociolinguists as generally being uninterested in the
'superficial' variation of performance/parole, since his grail
is 'Universal Grammar' (again, see Pinker's LANGUAGE INSTINCT
on this). Sociolinguists, however (who are much closer to
most anthropologists/ethnographers), regard parole (i.e.,variation
within a speech community) as their most essential subject matter.