Peter Hagoort on the future of linguistics

On the occasion of the discussion “Quo Vadis Linguistics in the 21st century”, Peter Hagoort argued that linguistics got marginalized in cognitive science. As one of the reasons he identifies the following:

The field of linguistics as a whole has become internally oriented, partly due to the wars between different linguistic schools. With exceptions, linguists have turned their backs to the developments in cognitive (neuro)science, and alienated themselves from what is going on in adjacent fields of research. The huge walls around the different linguistic schools have prevented the creation of a common body of knowledge that the outside world can recognize as the shared space of problems and insights of the field of linguistics as a whole.

He provides some possible solutions, some of which I agree with (‘maximize interdisciplinary contributions in a cognitive (neuro)science environment’) whereas with others I don’t ( ‘Embed linguistic theory in a broader framework of human communication (inclusion of gesture, dialogue, sociolinguistic variation, etcetera’ – this sounds to me like a call to physicists to include friction, air resistance and minor imperfection in the balls they use in their tower and inclined plane experiments to get at the underlying laws).

In any case, it’s a worthwhile read, so here you go.

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