RULES AND REPRESENTATIONS

The intelligent, well-informed reader who knows of Chomsky, but not all about Chomsky, would be well-advised to begin this Where-I-Stand treatise with the last chapter—a reasonably accessible presentation of Chomsky's definitions of linguistics and language; of "competence," grammatical and pragmatic. The chapter begins with homage to Eric Lenneberg, and does much to put in perspective Chomsky's quarrels with contemporary schools of linguistics and psychology (not just Skinner, but also Piaget), encapsulating what the preliminary chapters do ad nauseum: attack opponents with scholarly put-downs. Essentially, Chomsky defends his notion that the rules governing linguistic expression are universal and innate, part of the genotype which grows and matures to a steady state, all the while shaped by culture and circumstance. No reason for such a stance to be rejected as "purely hypothetical," he says; no reason for the dichotomy in the human sciences between empirically verifiable "psychological reality" (like reaction time) and abstract hypotheses (like universal unconscious grammatical principles). Physics, he says, never suffered such a dichotomy; and he is right. That said, Chomsky argues that his ideas are eminently testable and chides his critics as dogmatists. Much of this is hard going, assuming a competence at sentence-analysis in Chomsky's mathematico-logical style, not to mention familiarity with less well-known challengers. Chomsky's attack on empiricism and the "poverty of the stimulus" argument seem well-taken, but he is open to question on a number of fronts, including the inaccessibility of the unconscious and the uselessness of introspection. Still, this controversial scholar may have the edge over his detractors: he can point to a complex innate structure for the visual system and maintain, congruently, that the methods of natural science are the ultimate criteria by which rival linguistic schools will stand or fall. Difficult but not unrewarding.

Pub Date: April 1, 1980

ISBN: 0231132700

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Columbia Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1980

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more