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THOMAS M. PAIKEDAY

THE NATIVE SPEAKER IS DEAD!
An informal discussion of a linguistic myth with Noam Chomsky and other linguists, philosophers, psychologists, and lexicographers

LEXICOGRAPHY, INC. (formerly Paikeday Publishing Inc.) Toronto & New York

T. M. Paikeday, The Native Speaker Is Dead!, Page 3

Published by Lexicography, Inc. (formerly Paikeday Publishing Inc.) Lexicographers of The New York Times Everyday Dictionary The Penguin Canadian Dictionary, & The User’s® Webster Dictionary Copyright© 2003 by Lexicography, Inc. 83 Sunny Meadow Blvd., Brampton, Ont. L6R 2Z3

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Canadian Cataloguing in Publication Data Paikeday, Thomas M. The native speaker is dead! Bibliography: p. ISBN 0-920865-00-3 (pbk). 1. Native language. 2. Linguistics -Philosophy. I. Title. P125.P34 1985 401 C85-090158-8

Manufactured in Canada 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

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CONTENTS
6 Preface 12 Acknowledgements 14 The Subject of the enquiry: Is the Native Speaker a Myth Propagated by Linguists? 15 Native Speaker dead or alive? 17 “Native speaker as a legal fiction” 20 What Quirk & Quine think 23 The two senses of “native speaker” 27 Chomsky on “grammaticalness” & “grammaticality” 33 Is a native speaker born or made? 38 How a linguist diagnosed Indian English 42 Aristocracy’s “squeezed and bleating sound” 45 Anyone met a native dishwasher? 49 How George Kurien lost his mother tongue 52 Explain away native-speaker errors 57 Labov, Dorian & semi-speakers 62 Enter Chomsky 64 Following Chomsky’s red herring without losing the scent 71 The native speaker as a terminal case 76 Halliday’s comment 81 “I couldn’t make love in English.” 86 An excursion with Eleanor Rosch 88 A linguistic apartheid 93 Chomsky’s reply 96 As Pilate said, “What is truth?” 100 Noam Chomsky recant? 102 Wanted: a Copernican revolution 104 106 108 111 112 Appendix 1. Song of the Native Speaker Appendix 2. Anyone Met a Native Speaker? References About Noam Chomsky About the Author

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PREFACE PREFACE
For the benefit of the police who may be wondering, the subtitle of the book notwithstanding, whether I have been up to some criminal activity against the native peoples of this continent, as when the Beothuks of Newfoundland were exterminated in the last century, let me explain that we are a mostly academic group of men and women trying to thrash out a basic concept of linguistics, the so-called “native speaker” as the arbiter of grammaticality and acceptability of language. I am indebted to Prof. Noam Chomsky for coming out as the protagonist of the action and graciously agreeing to be quoted. I am also grateful to the other authorities in linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and lexicography who have taken part in the discussion and lent their names to it. I must clarify at this point that I started the ball rolling with a memo entitled “Anyone met a native speaker?” (Appendix 2) by which I only meant to study a question that had bothered me for nearly twenty-five years. The most I had in mind was writing something for one of those learned societies from whom I receive “a call for papers” every now and then. But the responses I received to my memo were so varied and occasionally also a bit woolly that I had a hard time finding my way through them. It was like a free-for-all of ideas and opinions on a subject which I thought almost everyone had taken for granted, like the belief, to borrow an analogy from Prof. Paul Christophersen, that the sun goes round the earth! The first thing to do, it seemed to me, was to give the subject a good airing. For this purpose, I orchestrated the responses to my...
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