walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Why I'm Married to My Husband

So, I remember over the years a lot of near misses with Chomsky and his ideas and followers. Since I'm interested in language learning and I have a computer science degree, it wasn't actually possible to avoid his work completely, but I will admit that I tried about as hard as I could. I thought (and I know in a lot more detail why now) that his political ideas were loony and scary, and found his assertions about language, Universal Grammar and how It Didn't Evolve and how animals don't have any kind of precursor to our language blah blah bleeping blah to be suspect on the face of it. And then there's the way he treats his critics.

I'm currently reading what seems to be a Pretty Good Overview of the state of research on second language learning. (http://www.amazon.com/Language-Learning-Theories-Rosamond-Mitchell-ebook/dp/B00EPE1WGI) And as I'm reading a brief mention of some of Chomsky's ideas about the origin of language, I'm sitting here going, dude is nuts. This is right up there with thinking Pluto is a planet (does it orbit the sun? Yes. Is it big enough to call a planet? Oh HELL no. And it is entertaining beyond belief to listen to Neil Degrasse Tyson on the subject of why it took so freaking long to unbadge it as a planet, but it more or less comes down to, it took that one guy a long time to die and no one felt like arguing with him). And I think that the idea of a Universal Grammar is going to die approximately the same way the Pluto Is a Planet theory died (see, that's why you should read my parenthetical remarks).

You're probably wondering (I know I will be someday when I come back and read this having forgotten the events that led to me posting this), what's up with that subject line up there?

Well, similar degrees, both have the same (first) second language, both formed roughly equivalent ideas about Chomsky, for roughly the same reasons, and chose to not do or say a whole lot about those ideas for roughly the same reasons. This isn't the _only_ reason we're together, but there are _so many examples_ of this that it is absolutely startling, every time a new one pops up.

You, of course, may well adore Chomsky (I would wager for his politics, but I could be wrong), Believe in a Universal Grammar and otherwise behave in ways that look teleological from the outside, and make me wonder if you are gonna flip and turn into an Intelligent Design believer when I'm not paying attention.
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