Responses to Pater "Perspectives" article

(Deadline: August 15, 2018)

The Perspectives section of Language publishes invited target articles on topics of general interest to linguistics. Target articles typically have the character of an “opinion piece”, and are intended to generate discussion. Shorter written responses to a target article will be published in Language in conjunction with the target article. (See lower down for instructions about how to prepare and submit a response.) The next target article is by Joe Pater (University of Massachusetts), and we are currently accepting responses to this article.

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Generative linguistics and neural networks at 60: foundation, friction, and fusion

Joe Pater

The birthdate of both generative linguistics and neural networks can be taken as 1957, the year of the publication of foundational work by both Noam Chomsky and Frank Rosenblatt. This paper traces the development of these two approaches to cognitive science, from their largely autonomous early development in their first thirty years, through their collision in the 1980s around the past tense debate (Rumelhart and McClelland 1986, Pinker and Prince 1988), and their integration in much subsequent work up to the present. Although this integration has produced a considerable body of results, the continued general gulf between these two lines of research is likely impeding progress in both: on learning in generative linguistics, and on the representation of language in neural modeling. The paper concludes with a brief argument that generative linguistics is unlikely to fulfill its promise of accounting for language learning if it continues to maintain its distance from neural and statistical approaches to learning.

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Instructions for submission of responses

We are inviting commentaries up to 8,000 words in length (including references) in response to this target article. Commentaries should represent thoughtful perspectives that engage an issue raised by the article. Broadly negative responses are not encouraged—a discussion deepening our understanding of an issue should dominate the presentation. Commentaries are selected on the basis of whether they collectively represent an informative diversity of perspectives. Final selection of commentaries to be published with the article is at the discretion of the Editor.

Commentaries should be submitted through Language’s online portal at this link. Please select “Perspectives (online only)” as the section of your submission, and mark the submission clearly as a response to the Pater target article in the “Comments for the Editor” box available in the submission portal. The deadline for submission of responses is August 15, 2018. You can direct any questions you have about this to the Editor.