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Three incompatible hypotheses: evidence from Blackfoot 1

  • Donald G. Frantz (a1)

Given the present state of transformational grammar theory, it is virtually impossible to provide convincing support for, or (and this, of course, is more serious) evidence against, any single hypothesis. Between 1957 and 1965, revisions of the theory and new hypotheses were generally proposed one or two at a time and tested within the otherwise widely accepted theoretical framework (the ‘paradigm’: Kuhn 1962). However, in recent years just about everything but the need for transformations to pair more abstract objects with actual and/or potential linguistic objects has been called into question or affected somehow by new hypotheses. Consequently, linguists must realize that any evidence they attempt to marshal for or against a particular hypothesis can be refuted or circumvented by at least one combination of other apparently unrelated popular hypotheses (abetted by the excessive power of transformational rules: Peters 1970).

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Joan Bresnan 1971 Sentence stress and syntactic transformations. Language 47.47257 (1971).

Stanley Peters 1970 Why there are many “universal” bases. Papers in Linguistics 2.227 (1970).

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Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique
  • ISSN: 0008-4131
  • EISSN: 1710-1115
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-linguistics-revue-canadienne-de-linguistique
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