Report Number: CS-TR-73-368
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: The goals of linguistic theory revisited.
Author: Schank, Roger C.
Author: Wilks, Yorick A.
Date: May 1973
Abstract: We examine the original goals of generative linguistic theory. We suggest that these goals were well defined but misguided with respect to their avoidance of the problem of modelling performance. With developments such as Generative Semantics, it is no longer clear that the goals are clearly defined. We argue that it is vital for linguistics to concern itself with the procedures that humans use in language. We then introduce a number of basic human competencies, in the field of language understanding, understanding in context and the use of inferential information, and argue that the modelling of these aspects of language understanding requires procedures of a sort that cannot be easily accomodated within the dominant paradigm. In particular, we argue that the procedures that will be required in these cases ought to be linguistic, and that the simple-minded importation of techniques from logic may create a linguistics in which there cannot be procedures of the required sort.