By in large, I have nothing to say in response to most of what you said,
aside from "Wow!  Very good!"  :)  But here are a few things...

In a message dated 10/24/01 12:37:33 PM, [log in to unmask]

<< What could it mean for someone to be "used to" questions? This raises all
sorts of issues about the nature of unconscious knowledge, and how that
knowledge gets there in the first place (how does a child learning his or her
first language even know what a question is, for example?). >>

    Of course children would not be "used to" questions; that'd be
impossible.  You need to get used to them, so that when you hear the question
"How are you doing?" you don't put any rules to it or anything, because it
doesn't really mean "how are you doing", it means "hi" (at least in America).

<<I would contend that it is impossible to understand *anything* without
applying rules to it. That's what "understand" means. To understand something
you have to analyze it, figure out its structure--which is to say you have to
internalize the rules that went into putting that thing together. If
something fails to obey rules, or if the rules it obeys are not discoverable,
then there can be no understanding.>>

    Now, hold on a minute.  There are plenty of things that don't need rules
to be understood, or if rules are applied to them, understanding won't come
immediately; you need something else.  Like "He kicked the bucket".  You
could apply rules to that and realize that he is the subject, acting upon the
object the bucket by kicking it, and all that business, and what you'll come
up with is a guy kicking a bucket instead of dying.  In this case, the syntax
has nothing to do with the meaning; it's secondary at best.  And what about
"Yes." vs. "Yes? (that is, one with a mid 22 tone, and one with a 35 tone [I
hope I'm getting those right]).  That doesn't have any syntax at all; they're
just solitary words.  However, they mean two different things, namely: (a) "I
agree", or something similar, and (b) "What do you want?".  Or how about if
you bring up a point in a literature class about some character which is
clearly wrong, but the response to it (by the professor) is, "Huh.  I'd never
thought of that before; I'll have to look into that."  If all you get out of
that is that the professor is going to investigate your claim later on,
you're not even getting half the story.  I realize that this is branching off
into different areas (namely pragmatics and metaphor), but how does a syntax
theory that puts forth that humans have to apply rules to everything to gain
understanding account for this?  Or (maybe more importantly), does it even
have to?