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Forty-Four Reasons
Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken

Preface

Originally entitled "Thirty-Three Reasons Why the Chomskians Are Mistaken," I am honored to welcome as my collaborator in this revised version the distinguished Brazilian computer scientist Sergio Navega, who specializes in the area where neuroscience, AI, and natural language converge. Although there is a slight duplication concerning the "innateness" of language, the six additional reasons provided by my colleague add a new dimension to this discussion, providing rich overlays of authentic technical and medical knowledge and highlighting the many deficiencies of the Chomskian outlook. It is sometimes overlooked that for the last two decades opposition to these theories has come not only from translators, literary scholars, and dissenting non-Chomskian linguists but also from specialists trained in pathology and neuroscience. Navega is a well-known contributor to the comp.ai, comp.ai.nat-lang, and comp.ai.philosophy newsgroups, and you can visit his two remarkable websites by clicking here and by clicking here. His contributions to this piece may be found in Reasons 28 through 33 and contain completely new material. Also new are Reasons 14, 17, 25, 37, and 43, as are quite a few other bits and pieces scattered throughout, based partially on spirited but ultimately ineffectual resistance from traditionalists on the sci.lang newsgroup. For those interested, a detailed summary of that debate can be accessed from the Linguistics menu.

Sergio Navega's unique combination of insights tends to complement what I have described elsewhere on this website as my own special field of study, "a particular meeting place, where language, translation, computers, AI, so-called natural language processing, simple common-sensical understanding, and the urgent need for the clearest possible expression—reaching the greatest possible number of people—all intersect and overlap, occupying an area of crucial importance." Hence the product of our mutual collaboration could well prove particularly resistant to criticism by our colleagues, though of course we welcome comments from all concerned observers.

What follows is the beginning of this piece as originally posted, with the new sections added in their proper places.


NOTE: Although this piece is written in as straightforward a style as possible, readers new to this subject are likely to profit from reading the previous three selections on the Linguistics menu first, as they will help to clarify much of the material about to be covered. As stated below, the author cannot enter into prolonged debate over any of the following points. And as was also noted on the Linguistics menu, just in case anyone feels this treatment is too one-sided, two pro-TGG websites are included in the list of links accessible from the bottom of the home page. Furthermore, if anyone deeply objects to any of these points and wishes to forward a detailed refutation, the author will be glad to take it into consideration in preparing subsequent editions of this document. He intends to profit from the cumulative editing process encouraged by the Web to refine these points over time but also to include what may have been omitted here, as there are certain to be more than a mere forty-four reasons why the Chomskians are mistaken. He has in fact already profited from this process, as the eleven new reasons here surely show. Thus, those who feel that the following treatment is neither strong nor complete enough are also welcome to offer their suggestions. All names and references are clarified in the bibliographical section, following this selection on the Linguistics menu of the website.

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