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.