Grammatical complexity

Lamb's "non-linearity" vs. Chomsky's "loss of generality"

Response by Sydney Lamb to a post by me asking about Chomsky's objections to the abstraction of phonemes from language data. Funknet discussion list (

> The particular analysis which interests me is one I found in a historical
> retrospective by Fritz Newmeyer and others "Chomsky's 1962 programme for
> linguistics" (in Newmeyer's "Generative Linguistics -- A Historical
> Perspective", Routledge, 1996, and apparently also published in "Proc. of the
> XVth International Congress of Linguists".)

Grammatical incompleteness

From a thread on the "Corpora" email list (

Personally I think we can clear up a lot of the mess, and get a very
predictive model, by abandoning just one assumption. I believe much of
machine learning to be quite sound for instance. We can use it (right from
the level of sound waves.) We can even keep grammar, in a sense.

The assumption I believe we need to abandon is the one that there is only
one grammar to be found.

Why do we insist on the assumption of global generalizations?