Representations and Responsibilities

  • Published : 2003.12.01


I look at the respective responsibilities of different components of the language faculty in the description of two radically different kinds of linguistic phenomenon. The first is the production/perception mismatch in the child's acquisition of the phonology of its first language. There is strong evidence that the child's lexical representations are the same as the adult's, but I argue that the child's own pronunciations, have no linguistic status and are best treated as the product of a neural network. The second is the nature of compositionality, where I argue that compositionality in Natural Language is derivative from that in the Language of Thought. With this assumption and using evidence from quantification in ‘backward control’ structures, I argue that chain theory is intrinsically inimical to a simple view of the legibility relation between LF and LoT.