A Festschrift for Shoichi Watanabe on his 80 th Birthday
Edited By Tetsuji Oda and Hiroyuki Eto
MASATAKA MIYAWAKI Ronald Langacker and James Harris: A Case Study of the History of Cognitive Linguistics 271
MASATAKA MIYAWAKI Ronald Langacker and James Harris: A Case Study of the History of Cognitive Linguistics 1. Introduction Among the many traits that make Noam Chomsky exceptional as a practicing linguist are his interest in, and knowledge of, the history of linguistics before the nineteenth century. In Chomsky (1966), he explored a number of parallels between what he calls “Cartesian linguistics,” with its roots in Cartesian doctrine and the Port-Royal Grammaire générale et raisonnée (1660), and his own theory of generative grammar. One of his aims was to defend his revolutionary enterprise against the then dominant paradigm of linguistics (i.e., American structuralism), by demonstrating that it was his conception of language, rather than the one widely held in those days, that was orthodox, going back to the early modern period. It is well known that generative grammar has become the mainstream theory of language since then. Just as generative grammar developed as an alternative to the then prevalent structuralist theory of language, so cognitive linguistics has grown out of a general dissatisfaction with the now dominant generative paradigm, and is sharply opposed to it in a number of crucial respects. Among the assumptions of generative grammar are the views that language is an autonomous system, independent of other cognitive abilities, and that grammar can be described as a set of formal principles according to which meaningless categories operate to generate well-formed sentences; hence meaning is not a central concern of grammar. Cognitive linguistics emphatically rejects these assumptions....
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