Friday, 13 July 2012

Linguistics- From Conjunctions to Chomsky

A cascade of lines, dots and dashes in a river of context, form and meaning. Not a vessel to be filled, but rather a fire to be kindled. A semantic entity that gives rise to a scope of meaning, a phonetic tone that plays with the dynamics of acoustics, a syntactic structure that gives the impression of order and complexity while its incalculable value forms the sheer fabric of humanity. Language remains a cosmopolitan feat, the means of transference, of conveyance and the exultation of ourselves as rational and intelligible beings. But beyond the indispensable mantle that language assumes as a facet of the humanities, is an intellectual challenge in describing its impetus and momentum. The faculty of linguistics comes as a challenge to traditional school grammar, a prescriptive and rather liberal approach to language alongside its scientific orientation. Linguistics is an exploration of the vast oasis of language and its advent has foreseen paradigm-shifting implications upon the zeitgeist of academia. From advent of structuralism; language as a systematic series of linked nodes, to functionalism; language as fulfilled by its workings, linguistics has maintained a rather transformational approach to a universal phenomenon.  It was the added stances of semiotics and pragmatics that defined a discipline and an intellectual endeavor. Nevertheless, a panoply of queries remain unanswered, the great challenges to conventional wisdom in regards the origin, genesis and acquisition of language continue to direct the course of linguistics into its contemporary saga. The ascent of linguistic insight into the nature of syntactic structures, namely the ground-breaking postulations of Noam Chomsky drove language into a generative model of grammar; triggered by the instance of rules that promote well-formed sentence structure and the omission of ill-formed sentence structure via principles of competence and creativity. Such a generative grammatical model further pushed the envelope on linguistic inquisition , yet much may be speculated, given the prospect that languages of every colour and proportion share common properties. The presence of words, the modification of words, promotion of abstraction, liberation of stimulus and open-endedness remain some of the myriad common denominators of all languages. Did all languages arise as a result of common ancestry? Linguistics maintains a degree of historicism in tracing the roots and shoots of language. Much reference to the nature-nurture debate may be found among the rudiments of linguistic research, is language acquired or innate? Chomsky's

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