The Linguistics Delusion - Geoffrey Sampson

The Linguistics Delusion - Geoffrey Sampson

6. The 'Cognitive' Alternative

The Linguistics Delusion - Geoffrey Sampson

Geoffrey Sampson [+-]
Sussex University, Professor Emeritus
Geoffrey Sampson is Professor Emeritus at Sussex University and has taught linguistics at the LSE, Lancaster and Leeds Universities. His recent books include Love Songs of Early China (2006), Electronic Business (2nd edn 2008) and Writing Systems (2nd edn 2015).


Although generative linguistics has made most of the running since the 1960s, there are of course other schools of linguistics. Probably the trend which is currently seen as coming closest to dethroning generative assumptions is so-called “cognitive linguistics”. And the term “cognitive” sounds as though this school might be likely to recognize the human, creative aspects of language behaviour which prevent linguistics being a science. Unfortunately, it does not. The cognitive school has its own ideas about potentially-refutable boundaries around linguistic possibilities, but where those ideas are clear they are demonstrably wrong. Cognitive linguistics neither rescues the scientific status of linguistics nor offers an intellectually-acceptable alternative.

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Sampson, Geoffrey. 6. The 'Cognitive' Alternative. The Linguistics Delusion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 79-87 Sep 2017. ISBN 9781781795781. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.32134. Sep 2017

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