Monday, November 13, 2017

Ave, Dr. Pepple!

John Pepple has written a long and interesting blog post on the beginnings of language. In it, he discusses Noam Chomsky's highly influential linguistic theory of transformational grammar and deep structures (although Pepple doesn't, to my knowledge, use either of those exact terms), and how that theory is being challenged by thinker Daniel Everett. The blog post is well worth a read, especially if you're in the language-teaching business.

I'm confused by Pepple on only one point, though: early on in his post, Pepple seems to take for granted the existence of "animal languages," but much later, he claims that animals don't use language at all, not even a little. I'm unclear on whether the "early Pepple" was merely conveying Chomsky's thinking or was weaving Chomsky's thinking into his own. A charitable assumption would be that the "early Pepple" was quoting/conveying Chomsky but was expressing his own opinion later on.

That confusion aside, the post makes for a very interesting read.

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