7 Linguistic Issues
In this chapter, some suggestions for advancing linguistic research are
presented. One of the foremost scholars is Roman Jakobson, whose linguistic
studies took into account findings on how speech is produced. As a result, if
researchers want to have a better understanding of the mechanisms of sound
change, they must take the wise counsel of Roman Jakobson. In this way,
phonology could also be developed. One of Roman JakobsoníŽs finding is that the
sounds of speech cannot be uniquely related to invariant motor commands, tongue
position, or other articulatory gestures. Instead, a mixed system involving both
auditory and articulatory factors appears to characterize the sound pattern that
conveys words. We can know the nature of phonologic processes by appropriate
consideration of the physiology of speech production and perception.
Furthermore, there is a lesson in the study of evolution for linguistic research
on syntax. As for the comprehending the syntactic distinctions that convey the
meaning of a sentence, the neural structures also regulate the cognitive
processes. Hence, we can dismiss the supposition that an innate Universal
Grammar exists in the brains of all human beings that specifies the detailed
syntax of every language.
Moreover, it is clear that many aspects of the physiology and the operations of the neural network that sequences motor acts and thoughts patterns do not resemble the sequential, algorithmic operations typically used to describe syntactic processes. But the methodology employed in studying phonology and sound pattern of language usually mirrors that used to describe syntax. Sequential, abstract algorithms and rules are devised to describe utterances. The studies of semantics have also attempts to employ the abstract rule-governed model provided by syntax. This model has yielded few insights into the nature of language (Croft 1991). No comprehensive description of the syntax of any natural language has been achieved. The findings of many independent experiments have led to some understanding of the neural bases of motor control, which cannot be described by serial algorithmic processes. In a word, biologic brains simply do not make use of the sequential, algorithmic operations that typify most contemporary linguistic research.