Wegbereiter der Linguistik neu gelesen
A re-evaluation of Charles F. Hockett: His views on phonology, junctures, affricates and his criticism of Chomsky
Abstract: This paper provides an altogether favourable though not entirely uncritical review of some of Hockett’s linguistic premises. He is depicted as a leading structuralist, as Bloomfield’s most distinguished scholar, as an important phonologist and as a prominent critic of Chomsky. Hockett’s linguistics will be shown to be more modern and multifaceted than is now remembered. Although he was an empirical structuralist with sympathy for Behaviorism, he reflected at an early stage on the possible distinction between surface and deep grammar, and explicitly admitted the “the reality of inner mental activity”. After a short review of his major monographs of which the last (1987) betrays some reorientation in his thinking, a re-evaluation of some of his positions is based on three cases in point: (a) his intricate study of English affricates resting on an enlightening partial analogy between phonemes and coins, (b) his work on junctures that lent support to a hearer-based model of autonomous phonology, and finally (c) his refutation of some of Chomsky’s major postulates within Transformational Grammar.
Charles F. HOCKETT, nicknamed ‘Chad’, is an outstanding North American structuralist and anthropologist. He was born in 1916 in Columbus, Ohio and died in 2000, aged 84 (GAIR 2003: 600). At Yale University, where he completed his PhD in anthropology in 1939, he was able to profit enormously from Edward SAPIR and Leonard BLOOMFIELD (AGARD et al. 1983: ix), two of the most distinguished scholars in the fields of anthropology and linguistics...
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