The first quote I like to share is from Pullum’s 1996 Review of Nostalgic Views from Building 20:
“It does suffer, though, from two familiar maladies of linguists. The first is an epistemological affliction: difficulty in telling the difference between (i) data that are well accounted for if construct C is posited and (ii) evidence that C actually exists.
Kenstowicz’s useful review of reasons for favoring some constituent structure assignments over others when doing metrical analyses should not be confused with a demonstration of the actual existence of metrical constituents.”
That quote pretty much speaks for itself: sure, you can postulate a handful of new functional projections to move stuff around as you see fit – but just because you fit the data doesn’t mean these things exist.
The second is from post from Gillian Ramchands old blog where she blogs about the fascinating conference on Generative Grammar in the 21st century: the road ahead.
“Happy is the syntactician who was a little baffled by the terms of the call, and thinks that internal to syntax there is no problem, no crisis, and no reason at all for this meeting. Grumpy is the syntactician who sort of darkly suspects that the reason we have been so bad at communicating outside our own tribe is that we have some internal issues to resolve as well. I speak as one who would classify herself as Grumpy in this regard. I think, for example, my friend and colleague David Adger is Happy. (I hope David will not yell at me for this, but I think we have actually had this conversation). This could just be a personality thing. But if I can generalize, (and I know I am getting myself into trouble here) I would say that Happy is a syntactician working in the US or the UK who is comfortable using the canonical minimalist toolbox, terms and framework language. Grumpy was usually living in non English speaking Europe, and often had fewer mainstream commitments at the implementational level. I think Grumpy would be much happier if syntactic theorizing used a less parochial toolbox, emphasized generalizations at the MLG level more, and if it was a little bit more multilingual in its engagement with other implementational languages and of the bridging discourses to other disciplines.”
I really wish I would have attended that conference, judging from everything I read about it it was really exciting, and the big questions were asked.
Hedvig Skirgård from Humans Who Read Grammars also blogged about this, so I just gonna leave that here:
And another blogpost from Peter Svenonius where he lists all the supposedly well-established significant results of Generative Grammar.