The Effect of Coffee Consumption on Adults’ Average MLU at the Breakfast Table—Suzy X. Ps. Q. Vol XVI, No 3 Contents The Effect of Lax Rearing Practices on Speech Patterns—Douglas S. Files

Null Grammar: A Lexico-centric Approach

A recent and alarming trend in theoretical linguistics has involved the positing of grammatical “rules” as underlying the so-called “structure” of obviously communicative utterances. The a priori assumption that such “rules” exist, or that they might be discoverable and describable, is thoroughly without precedent in either classical rhetoric or modern neural sciences; nor does Robert’s Rules address this non-issue.

Any fool can see, in fact, that “grammar” in the synchronic sense is completely non-existent. Certainly, prescriptivists have muddled along for generations with their ideas of how people ought to say things, but even the most pertinacious of them has been unable to successfully characterize a single linguistic “rule.”

The reason, of course, is that the “exception” is really the rule; and our “grammatical” theory, if we insist on wasting our valuable time fabricating one, must express this. What follows is, I believe, the most elegant and psychologically real system on the market.

Null Grammar

Having rejected traditional “grammar,” we are left with the task of explaining how the mental processor arranges lexical items for output to the uttering mechanism. Of course, there must be some decipherable principle behind this if interlocutors are to be able to understand each other. The principles behind Lexical Ordering (LO), however, are simply stored with the individual Lexical Items (LI) in the extensive Lexical Item Memory and Brain Organizer (LIMBO).

Essentially the LO principles simply assign numerical values (NV) to each Sentence Position (SP) in a Possible Sentence (PS), and then specify which Other Lexical Items (OLI) may occur in Neighboring Positions with the Lexical Items in Question (NPWTLIIQ). Thus, a sample English Lexical Item Entry (LIE) might read in part:

THE:

In order to construct a Sentence (S), the Sentence Constructor (SC) maps the LIMBO-LO output into the SP of a PS, until all of the desired LI have been combined with OLI in Permissible Ways (PW). Then, the utterance is ready, and output may commence. Comprehension, of course, involves a Completely Different Mechanism (CDM).

Keith W. Slater Michigan State University

The Effect of Coffee Consumption on Adults’ Average MLU at the Breakfast Table—Suzy X.
The Effect of Lax Rearing Practices on Speech Patterns—Douglas S. Files
Ps. Q. Vol XVI, No 3 Contents