Chomskyan Linguistics and the Scientific Methodology in Linguistic Study

Fuzhen Si


This article is mainly concerned with Chomskyan linguistics, especially its methodology. The author of the paper argues against Shi Yuzhi(2005) and holds that although the relation between theoretical hypotheses and observations is, in some sense, like chickens and eggs and therefore to say that this paradigm is a top-down approach that is bottom-up one is too simple, theoretical hypothesis does function as directive force in scientific research and can be prerequisite to proper and effective experiments and observations. “Observations are meaningless unless we know what regularity they are supposed to illustrate.” As for the stability of linguistics theory, the author thinks that linguistics, just like other sciences such as chemistry and physics, in order to prove specific ideas and hypothesis, scientists normally change their experimental programs frequently. What changed in Chomksyan linguistics are the experimental programs, the change from Government and Binding theory to the Minimalist Program as an example; what changed are technical details. And the hypothesis and main point of views never changed in general.

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