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David Peterson wrote:
>In a message dated 10/25/01 1:02:14 PM, [log in to unmask] writes:
>
><< If we assume that language is rule-governed (if not, then there's NO
>predictable link between content and expression - an unlikely hypothesis
>...), and that the human mind is capable of using language (if not, one
>gotta wonder who's writing this ...), doesn't it then follow that the human
>mind at some level has knowledge these rules? >>
>
>     Is there any reason why it has to be one or the other?  Can't it be
>both?
>  There are rules, sure, but sometimes you don't use them, as with the
>example
>already pointed out, "Let's go, shall we?"  I think it's an easy phrase to
>understand, but certainly there aren't a system of rules that explain why
>it
>means exactly what it means.  However, there are rules that clearly map out
>sentences like "I'm going to the store" and "do you want to come".  It's
>kind
>of like assuming the simplest explanation is the true one always--it's NOT
>always!  In fact, I'd say it's about 50/50, though, given all the things in
>th
>e realm of human experience that require some sort of an explanation, I
>don't
>think there's anyway of coming close to proving that; it's just something I
>feel is right.  On topic, I'd say that there are rules, that they don't
>govern ALL production and comprehension, and that they're constantly
>changing.  (I should hang on to these things I'm saying and see what I
>think
>after I've taken that course on syntax.)

Having read more post in this thread, I'm beginning to fear that I've using
the word "rule" in a much wider sense than everyone else.

To take David's example, you can't well deny that the phrase "Let's go,
shall we?" is connected to a meaning. Now, this connection in it self is a
kind of rule ("meaning X belongs to expression Y under conditions Z"), and I
can't believe that anyone half-way sane would argue that we don't have rules
of this kind in our heads, but this isn't the sort of rules people're
talking about. People are rather talking about broad, "grammatical" rules
that allow you to predict the meaning of a combination of elements of known
meaning. Obviously, there aren't always rules of this kind.

                                                       Andreas

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