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Methodology in generative linguistics: Scratching below the surface

Abstract

This paper examines some methodological issues of contemporary linguistics from three general standpoints. A macro-level view sketches general, broad outlines of a technique. While this is the most common form of methodological discussion - by philosophers and linguists, including those of the "biolinguistic" persuasion - it is of limited use. In contrast, a micro-level perspective emphasizes those details that actually make a procedure do what it does. At this most important level of granularity, there has been very little development in generative linguistics. E.g., there are currently virtually no explicit means by which one might address a methodologically fundamental question about a data set such as "How much data is there?" A meso-level perspective allows for some aspects of a method to be compared with others. Inter alia, this perspective helps to identify narrower, more tractable methodological issues that currently need attention. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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