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Chomsky’s colorless green ideas finally put to sleep?

June 8, 2010

Every budding linguist will have heard and seen (and probably dissected) the sentence “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously”. It was created and used to make the point that unlike its pair “Furiously sleep ideas green colorless.”, it is entirely grammatical, but semantically nonsense. Chomsky uses these created new “sentences” to “prove” that not only do we process grammar as a set of rules, but are genetically pre-disposed to to so.

But now, this comfortable assumption that a generation of linguists has bought into is being questioned by work using neural networks, which claims that the “connected brain” learns and processes information somewhat differently to how Chomsky imagined.

Read the full Times article: Breaking Chomsky’s rules

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Allie permalink
    June 8, 2010 2:00 pm

    I’ve got the New Scientist issue in question, if anyone’s got any impellent questions 😉

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