Home » Limiting the Arbitrary. Linguistic Naturalism and Its Opposites in Platos Cratylus and Modern Theories of Language. by John E. Joseph
Limiting the Arbitrary. Linguistic Naturalism and Its Opposites in Platos Cratylus and Modern Theories of Language. John E. Joseph

Limiting the Arbitrary. Linguistic Naturalism and Its Opposites in Platos Cratylus and Modern Theories of Language.

John E. Joseph

Published October 15th 2000
ISBN : 9781283174602
ebook
235 pages
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 About the Book 

The idea that some aspects of language are natural, while others are arbitrary, artificial or derived, runs all through modern linguistics, from Chomskys GB theory and Minimalist program and his concept of E- and I-language, to Greenbergs searchMoreThe idea that some aspects of language are natural, while others are arbitrary, artificial or derived, runs all through modern linguistics, from Chomskys GB theory and Minimalist program and his concept of E- and I-language, to Greenbergs search for linguistic universals, Pinkers views on regular and irregular morphology and the brain, and the markedness-based constraints of Optimality Theory. This book traces the heritage of this linguistic naturalism back to its locus classicus, Platos dialogue Cratylus. The first half of the book is a detailed examination of the linguistic arguments in the Cratylus. The second half follows three of the dialogues naturalistic themes through subsequent linguistic history - natural grammar and conventional words, from Aristotle to Pinker- natural dialect and artificial language, from Varro to Chomsky- and invisible hierarchies, from Jakobson to Optimality Theory - in search of a way forward beyond these seductive yet spurious and limiting dichotomies.