Monday, November 06, 2006

Lakoff Chatter

Who's saying what about George Lakoff?

Jeff Nunberg at Language Log discusses a fun little right-wing messup. It seems some pundits on the right don't know their s-structure from a hole in the ground.

It may have started with this guy Ferguson:

A disciple of the notoriously anti-American Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Noam Chomsky, Lakoff first earned a wide public audience -- inadvertently -- with his essay ``Metaphors of Terror,'' published a few days after 9/11.


Then there's this Bennet post:

George Lakoff, the Chomsky protege who’s a big fave with Democrats these days, has a new book out urging leftish politicians to spin more. Steven Pinker is not impressed:

Which leads me to Pinker:
Lakoff is a distinguished linguist at Berkeley who trained with Chomsky in the 1960s, but broke with him to found first the school of generative semantics and then the school of cognitive linguistics, each of which tries in its way to explain language as a reflection of human thought processes rather than as an autonomous module of syntactic rules.

Ah well, there you go. They were together in the 60s. You know that can't be good.
But Pinker is not a right-wing pundit. And he's closer to being a Chomskyite than Lakoff is. I wonder what they'll do when Pinker says something they don't like.
And that still doesn't explain this bit of nonsequiter from little green footballs:
“GOP-Daddy” Lakoff was first mocked at LGF in November 2003: Berkeley Prof Tries to Figure It Out. And I’m sure it will come as no surprise to learn that Lakoff is an admirer of Noam Chomsky.

Which, when you follow the link through to their own page, gives you this:
Chomsky’s brand of treason is more insidious and pervasive because it disguises itself as rational scholarship.
As fellow top linguist George Lakoff once told the New York Times, “He’s a genius, and he fights dirty when he argues.”

That sounds like Lakoff is knocking Chomsky. Oh my head is spinning. This is worse that reading Syntactic Structures.

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