linguistic methodology

From: Andrew Kulikovsky (
Date: Thu May 08 1997 - 23:53:08 EDT

Clayton Bartholomew wrote:

> I would suggest that Chomsky was correct in stressing the arbitrary
> relationship between syntax and semantics. Now the word arbitrary here
> is used in the same way it is used in lexical semantics. It means that a
> syntactical pattern maps to a semantic domain, which like lexical
> semantic domains is somewhat fuzzy on the edges. This fuzziness does
> not spell the end to all exegesis. It does not mean that a syntactical
> pattern can be used just any old way. But it does mean that the meaning
> of the utterance is not tied directly to the semantic pattern. It does
> mean that statements like: it is impossible for EN+dative to indicate
> the *content* of filling, are dubious statements.

It seems that you have misquoted what I actually said. This is what I

But your interpretation is ruled out by the extreme improbability or
impossibility of EN+dative indicating the *content* of filling.

I did not say that the *content* idea was impossible but that it was
"extremely improbable or impossible". In hindsight, using "ruled out"
was probably a bit strong - perhaps "highly unlikely" would be better.


| Andrew S. Kulikovsky B.App.Sc(Hons) MACS
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