Battle in the Mind Fields (by John A. Goldsmith & Bernard Laks)

I cannot wait for reading this book, part of which I probably learned directly from one of the authors (John A. Goldsmith) at the University of Chicago. The interested reader can read some excerpts of the book from John's webpage (click here). To place an order, click here.

"We frequently see one idea appear in one discipline as if it were new, when it migrated from another discipline, like a mole that had dug under a fence and popped up on the other side."

 Taking note of this phenomenon, John Goldsmith and Bernard Laks embark on a uniquely interdisciplinary history of the genesis of linguistics, from nineteenth-century currents of thought in the mind sciences through to the origins of structuralism and the ruptures, both political and intellectual, in the years leading up to World War II. Seeking to explain where contemporary ideas in linguistics come from and how they have been justified, Battle in the Mind Fields investigates the porous interplay of concepts between psychology, philosophy, mathematical logic, and linguistics. Goldsmith and Laks trace theories of thought, self-consciousness, and language from the machine age obsession with mind and matter to the development of analytic philosophy, behaviorism, Gestalt psychology, positivism, and structural linguistics, emphasizing throughout the synthesis and continuity that has brought about progress in our understanding of the human mind. Arguing that it is impossible to understand the history of any of these fields in isolation, Goldsmith and Laks suggest that the ruptures between them arose chiefly from social and institutional circumstances rather than a fundamental disparity of ideas.


My translation project (update)

I could manage to finish translating Ueno (2016) into English. It is still an incomplete first version (so far 85,000 words, approx. 300 pages) so that I have to ask the visitor of this webpage to wait some more time. The thing is that this translation was more challenging than I originally thought for the following three reasons; (1) romanized transliteration from Japanese required my own deep understanding of the ambiguous notion "word", (2) Yoshio touched on so many issues that had not been treated well in the literature and advanced numerous ingenious analyses with full of original factual observations, and finally (3) university administration too often kept me from working on this project..(change our school name? seriously?)


Is the study of language a science?

4:40am. It's more than 80F/27C. For those who cannot sleep well in sweltering hot summer days, here is a great article written by a friend of mine Arika Orkland (PhD Chicago 2004), a winner of LSA Linguistics Journalism Award. As she says, I don't get it.


The 154th Meeting of the Linguistic Society of Japan 06/26-27

The 154the Meeting of the Linguistic Society of Japan was held at Tokyo Metropolitan University during June 24-25.

To colleagues and friends, thank you very much for coming. (and to TMU student staff, thank you for all the help.) It was a great conference.


I am teaching morphology

This quarter, I am teaching morphology at a prestigious college. It's wonderful to see the bright students beginning to understand various aspects of the multiply ambiguous word "word." Some of them are even beginning to say that a tense affix and a (tense) phrase are strange bedfellows… (young minds are too good…)


New Student Fellowship Launched in Honor of Yuki Kuroda

Let me cite an announcement for a new fellowship launched in honor of Yuki Kuroda.

The LSA is pleased to announce the establishment of a new student fellowship in honor of the late S.-Y. (Yuki) Kuroda. LSA member Susan Fischer has generously provided the founding contribution of $50,000 for the fund in memory of her late husband, Dr. Kuroda. We invite LSA members and colleagues of Drs. Fischer and Kuroda to make additional contributions to help us reach our goal of raising a total of $85,000 to fully endow the fellowship fund. This new student fellowship will be reserved for linguistics students from Japan to attend the LSA's biennial summer Linguistic Institute. It will cover tuition, travel, lodging, and board. Preference will be given to Japanese who haven't yet started studying in the US.





 本書で用いられている枠組み Automodular Grammar (Sadock 1991, 2012) の懇切丁寧に解説のあと、第2章からは「繰り上げ」「コントロール」「受身」「使役」「結果構文」「敬語」「かき混ぜ」と、日本語の主要な統語現象がどのような構造を有しているのか、その分析が続く。分析を正当化するために上野先生が様々な「テスト」をお使いになっているのだが、これがヒジョーに勉強になる。また取り扱われている統語現象も多岐に渡っており、「受身」の第4章は「太郎は先生に褒められた」というような直接受身から始まり、無活用動詞の直接受身、間接受身、無活用動詞の間接受身、持ち主の受身、二重目的語動詞の直接受身、長距離受身、Fpaの直接受身(「〜と言われている」)、凍結目的語の直接受身と、日本語文法に多少なりとも慣れ親しんだ人であれば「日本語の受身って、こんなにあったのか」と驚かれるはず。

 前作と同じく、読み切るには相当の忍耐と知性を必要とするのだが、こうした作品こそが「真の学者の仕事」で「海外の日本語研究者に読ませたい」思わせる一冊。英語タイトルは(もちろん)『More about Japanese Syntax Than You probably Want to Know』である。『形態論編』と合わせ、現代日本語文法の最高峰の一角を成していることを保証します。




早稲田大学理工学術院・英語教育センター長・上野義雄先生の新著『現代日本語の文法構造・形態論編』。この後すぐに『統語論編』も発売されるということだが、これは「どのような形態論を展開するかは、どのような統語論を想定しているかに左右され、どのような統語論を展開するかは、どのような形態論を想定するかによって大きく異なる」という著者のお考えによるもの。(大学がこれだけ忙しくなっているのに、要職にありながら 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 と4年連続で出版が続くのも凄い。)

 本書は「文法とは複数の自律したモジュール間の競合である」という考えに基づいた Automodular Grammar (Sadock 1991, 2012) の枠組みから日本語形態論を論じてたもの。文法が複数の自律したモジュールから成立しているという考えは Autosegmental Phonology (Goldsmith 1976) や、古くは Stratificational Grammar (Lamb 1966) に遡る。基本的な考え方は「文法の労働分割」であり、本書もこの考えに沿う形で、すなわち「(例外もあるが)全ての語形成は形態部門で行う」という文法観のもとで日本語の形態論が分析されている。結果として、本書で展開される分析は、語形成に際して、統語部門を使用する諸分析とは一線を画しており、形態部門と統語部門とのインターフェイスを「語 」に限定している点において「語彙主義」と言われる諸理論の分析と親和性があるものになっている。しかしながら、形態部門を、独自の範疇や構成素や規則を擁した(統語部門・意味部門・音韻部門と同様の)自律した生成部門と見なすことにより、生成文法黎明期を支えた研究者たちが提唱してきた「述語繰り上げ」や「統語的接辞」といった概念を、形態部門と意味部門の現象として組み入れることに成功しており、この点(初期の)語彙主義のどの理論とも異なる分析が展開されている。

 本ブログの筆者は、兄弟子にあたる上野先生のご著書に関して何かを言うほどの器量を持ち合わせおらず、この数年、本書の草稿を読ませていただきながら、その知性において「夜に輝く月の光と蛍の光ほどの差がある」と痛感しているところ(もちろん後者が本ブログ筆者)。わかったのは「この分析の証拠として1つ目・・、2つ目・・、3つ目・・、4つ目・・、5つ目・・」と次々に証拠が繰り出されて議論が続くところなどは、上野先生が敬愛されている James D. McCawley の議論の仕方と全く同じであるということ。「これはどうです?」と感じたことには、必ずその答えが出てくるだけでなく、自分が感じたことが何であったのかを忘れるほどに深い議論が展開されており、読みながら目眩と頭痛がすること数知れず(涙)。これからも理解し自分のものとなるまで読み続けます。全てが懇切丁寧に説明されておりますから、是非ご一読下さい。


An Automodular View of English Grammar by Yoshio Ueno(*2015 the English Linguistics Society of Japan Prize*)


Yoshio Ueno's new book An Automodular View of English Grammar (Waseda University Press) is now available from here. **This book received the English Linguistics Society of Japan Prize in 2015.**

For those who don't know much about the author of this book, let me write a little bit about him. Yoshio Ueno is professor of English at Waseda University, Japan. Originally trained as mathematician, Yoshio found himself attracted to linguistics and earned his PhD at the University of Chicago. His 1994 dissertation, Grammatical Functions and Clause Structure in Japanese, impressed every single member of his dissertation committee (including Jerrold M. Sadock and Amy Dahlstrom), and the work has since become the standard to the subsequent generation of graduate students who work on the Japanese language at Chicago. Reportedly, James D. McCawley (1939-1999) arranged to publish his dissertation from the University of Chicago Press, but he declined  it, saying "There is much left to be improved." Several years later, I started the same PhD program. I was naturally advised to study his  dissertation carefully. I did. I read his work (approx. 500 pages in two volumes) until I managed to understand by taking copious notes on many pages. I can thus assure you that there was NOTHING to be improved in his dissertation. On the contrary, it was a work of master syntactician with intellectual independence. The level of scholarship he manifested on nearly every page was just amazing.

I have utmost confidence that Yohio's new book significantly improves and contributes to current linguistic research, which has (in my view) long lost touch with reality. For specialists and non-specialists alike, I recommend it without reservation. This book received the English Linguistics Society of Japan Prize in 2015. (Congratulations!! I knew it!!)


Oldest Linguistics Department in the US?

If you are interested in "oldest department of linguistics in the US," Geoffrey K. Pullum's blog entry "But not as early as we were; Chicago strikes back" is informative and useful.


The Modular Architecture of Grammar by Jerrold M. Sadock

Let me use this post to announce Professor Jerrold M. Sadock's new book The Modular Architecture of Grammar (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics No.132). It is the latest version of Automodular Grammar (aka Autolexical Syntax), which he has been developing since early 1980s. To place an order, click here (Cambridge University Press) and/or here (Amazon.com).

What follows is just a digression. At the University of Chicago, I was privileged to work closely with Professor Sadock and became a linguist under his tutelage. In retrospect, it was a truly wonderful experience to be able to see him trying to lead a conflict of ideas to creativity. I am confident that by reading this work, everyone can achieve deep insights into the design of natural language even if s/he has differences in his/her theoretical persuasion. If you are a student of linguistics, I would particularly like you to learn how a first-ranked linguist thinks things in comparison with other grammatical frameworks.

"In this original and creative work, Sadock addresses one of the most fundamental issues in theoretical linguistics, the relationship among the different modules of grammar. He challenges established generative theory by introducing an elegant and well motivated non-derivational model of linguistic organization."
     Jan Terje Faarlund, University of Oslo

"Simply and clearly, Jerrold Sadock presents a new formulation of his idea that grammar is specified by a handful of completely autonomous, parallel modules, demonstrating it with stimulating accounts of major features of English."
     Anthony C. Woodbury, University of Texas at Austin


Lives in Linguistics

I did not know until a few days ago that video-tapled conversations in "Lives in Linguistics" (an interview series by Professors John R. "Haj" Ross and John A. Goldsmith) were downloadable through iTunes U. The first speaker (interviewee) is Professor Lila Gleitman with University of Pennsylvania (a Past President of LSA). What she says there (e.g., how she got involved in linguistics, her first linguistics teacher Zellig Harris, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis) is so interesting that approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes will pass in a moment. I especially enjoyed this video, for I played a tour guide when she visited Tokyo in 1999 and knew her in person.

To launch iTunes U, please click here. (An audio file is also available)

P.S. (as of December in 2011) Thanks to Haj and John, interviews with the following linguists are viewable also:
[1. Lila Gleitman] 2. Catherine V. Chvany, 3. Jerry Sadock, 4. John Goldsmith, Haj Ross, & Francois Dell, 5. Theo Vennemann.