Letter: Linguistic Enronitis

March 15, 2002

David Adger (Letters, THES , March 1) makes generative linguistics sound as productive and innocuous as a job at Enron.

To split psychology and sociology of language may suit academic divisions of labour, but neither is neutral nor ideology-free. Nor is Chomsky's (now discredited) view that at a deep level thought determines language (not vice versa).

How thought and language interact and direct each other is mediated by culture. But were behaviourism true and we were as malleable as it held, all we could hope for is Orwellian dystopia and a fate not in our hands.

David Rodway
Lecturer in art and philosophy
Kensington and Chelsea College

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