Grammar without grammaticality

Geoffrey R Sampson 1 , 1
  • 1 Sussex University.


1. Introduction

A key intellectual advance in 20th-century linguistics lay in the realization that a typical human language allows the construction not just of a very large number of distinct utterances but actually of infinitely many distinct utterances. However, although languages came to be seen as non-finite systems in that respect, they were seen as bounded systems: any particular sequence of words, it was and is supposed, either is wellformed or is not, though infinitely many distinct sequences are each wellformed. I believe that the concept of “ungrammatical” or “ill-formed” word-sequences is a delusion, based on a false conception of the kind of thing a human language is.

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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory publishes high-quality, corpus-based research focusing on theoretically-relevant issues in all core areas of linguistic research (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics) and other recognized topic areas. The journal features articles from a corpus-based approach that develop new methods, evaluate theoretical claims and offer analyses of linguistic phenomena within a theoretical framework.