Re: language and science

Jonathan Robie (
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 07:13:01 -0500

At 12:00 PM 12/13/96 EST, KULIKOVSKY, Andrew wrote:

>Formal Grammar is always behind the actual spoken
>and written language and hence it is more descriptive
>than prescriptive. The more I think about language and
>see and hear language used and use it myself there
>doesn't seem to be much room for hard and fast
>rules - for every rule there seems to be an exception!
>Language is a creative act and is always changing as
>people use their creativity. To use scienctific methods
>to test the truthfulness of a grammatical rule is a bit like
>using science to judge the work of Picasso or Van


Mari's work has nothing to do with prescriptive grammar and everything to do
with descriptive grammar. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to imagine a
scientific approach to prescriptive grammar.

What Mari is trying to do is explain how New Testament writers use
grammatical features to express time and aspect. Actually, her work is much
broader than that, bringing in many languages, but let's not Kukuyu into
this discussion...


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
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