John Goldsmith is a Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science at the University of Chicago. Goldsmith’s work has focused on phonological theory, on Bantu tone systems, and on computational morphology and phonology (especially algorithms for unsupervised learning). This work has included the development of autosegmental phonology, harmonic phonology, dynamic computational models of stress and sonority, the open source projects Linguistica, and geometric morphology.
Where Did Generative Grammar Come from, Anyway? Rethinking the Origins of Generative Grammar
We tend to argue over the answers to theoretical questions, when we certainly should just as often reflect on how we arrived at the questions we ask. The best way to understand where the questions came from is to look at their origins. I’ll look at how leading ideas associated with the Vienna Circle and others influenced by the German mathematician David Hilbert were vital in Chomsky’s 1955 Logical Structure of Linguistic Theory, and his conception then of generative grammar. Much of what I discuss draws on Battle in the Mind Fields (Goldsmith and Laks, University of Chicago Press, 2019).