Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The relation between "theory of language" and "language" is asymmetrical. There can be no theory of language without language, but it's perfectly coherent to hold that language exists in some form but that it is idle, even seriously misguided, to seek a theory of language. The two most outstanding theoreticians of "post-Bloomfieldian" structural linguistics, Zellig Harris and Charles Hockett, adopted perspectives of the general nature in the mid-1960s, in different and instructive ways. Hockett adopts the general American structuralist consensus based on Leonard Bloomfield's conception of language as "a matter of training and habit". Hockett describes his core objection as a demand to keep to the norms of science, part of the consensus of the Bloomfield-based structural linguistics of which he was, as noted, the most sophisticated exponent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationA Companion to Chomsky
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781119598732
ISBN (Print)9781119598701
StatePublished - Jun 4 2021


  • Bloomfield-based structural linguistics
  • Charles hockett
  • Theory of language
  • Zellig harris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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