Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning. The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century.
Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’s “universal grammar” theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages—and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky’s assertions. The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child’s first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all—such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things.
In the Beginning Death Knells An Alternative View. Linguistics. Negative Existentials, Causal Theory, and God: Notes on Donnellan. Causal theories of reference strike me as hopeless, which is not to say that descriptivist theories are in the clear.
(There are also hybrid theories that we ought to discuss.) For now let's see how causal theories fare with the problem of negative existentials. Not well, I shall argue. In particular, how might a causal theorist makes sense of the negative existential, 'God does not exist'? There are clear cases in which 'exist(s)' functions as a second-level predicate, a predicate of properties or concepts or propositional functions or cognate items, and not as a predicate of individuals. This sort of analysis is well-nigh mandatory in the case of negative general existentials such as 'Flying horses do not exist.'
Christians, Muslims, and the reference of “God” The question of whether Christians and Muslims worship the same God has become the topic du jour in certain parts of the blogosphere.
Our friends Frank Beckwith, Bill Vallicella, Lydia McGrew, Fr. Al Kimel, and Dale Tuggy are among those who have commented. Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? Francis Beckwith and Dale Tuggy, two philosophers I respect, answer in the affirmative in recent articles.
While neither are obviously wrong, neither are obviously right either, and neither seem to appreciate the depth and difficulty of the question. In all fairness, though, the two articles in question were written for popular consumption. Beckwith begins with an obvious point: from a difference in names one cannot validly infer a difference in nominata. 'Muhammad Ali' and 'Cassius Clay,' though different names, refer to the same person. The same goes for 'George Orwell' and 'Eric Blair.' Another obvious point Beckwith makes is that if some people have true beliefs about x, and other people have false beliefs about x, it does not follow that there is no one x that these people have true and false beliefs about.
Some Rules of Language are Wired in the Brain. Here’s a test.
Without looking them up on Google, try to guess the meanings of the foreign antonyms tobi and kekere. They are words in Yoruba, a widely spoken West African language that has its roots in the Old Stone Age. The words are equivalent to the English antonyms big, small. Now, take another guess: which one’s which? Exact and approximate arithmetic in an Amazonian indigene group.
The Origin of Roman Numerals (video) How to Speak Middle English. Learn to Read Korean in 15 Minutes. Popular Carols in Latin. Aleph-Bet Video. Book Review: Drout’s Quick and Easy Old English - Medievalists.net. Drout’s Quick and Easy Old English By Michael D.
C. Drout, Bruce D. Gilchrist, Rachel Kapelle Witan Publishing, 2012 Reviewed by Danièle Cybulskie - It may seem a little incredible that anyone would need a textbook to learn an older version of his or her mother tongue, but learning Old English (Anglo-Saxon) takes some time and effort – and a good textbook. Enter Drout’s Quick and Easy Old English, a downloadable Kindle textbook written by Michael D.C. The Underground Grammarian - Richard Mitchell.
Sixteen (16) Christmas Carols … In Latin! On a Franciscan website, we found this clever PDF wherein Fr.
Valentine Young has set common Christmas songs in Latin. A friend of CCW volunteered to type them out. Please let us know if you find any typos! I. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas 1. II. How to Learn Any Language in Record Time and Never Forget It. Preface from Tim Back in 2012, Gabriel Wyner wrote an article for Lifehacker detailing how he learned French in 5 months and Russian in 10, using mostly spare time on the subway.
That article went viral. 'Tis the season for archaic English. 12 Letters That Didn't Make the Alphabet. You know the alphabet. It’s one of the first things you’re taught in school. But did you know that they’re not teaching you all of the alphabet? There are quite a few letters we tossed aside as our language grew, and you probably never even knew they existed. 1.