John A. Goldsmith

Edward Carson Waller Distinguished Service Professor of Linguistics and Computer Science

Battle in the Mind Fields

Battle in the Mind Fields is the title of a book that I have recently published, with Bernard Laks. It explores the nature of intellectual rupture and continuity, with a careful look at linguistics, philosophy, psychology, and logic during the period from 1870 to 1940. Here is a link to the genealogical chart which you see just below. Take a look at the first chapter (download a pdf here).

Battle in the Mind Fields: the video

This is a 30 minute overview of the topics we explore in Battle in the Mind Fields.

Vienna Circle and generative grammar

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Here is a much longer version of the ABRALIN video, treating some questions in more depth: Rethinking the origins of generative grammar. The hair is courtesy of corona-virus lockdown, 2020.

Zellig Harris, Noam Chomsky, and discovery procedures

Linguists today seem to have no idea what Zellig Harris was proposing, or what Noam Chomsky said he was proposing. And today, with machine learning, it matters.

Video: ABRALIN 2020

ABRALIN talk, July 2020: Where did generative grammar come from, anyway? Rethinking the origins of generative grammar.

Ryerson lecture 2014

"> Ryerson Lecture 2014

Morphology

Linguistica

Linguistica is the name of a family of programs that I and students of mine have developed to learn the morphology of natural languages. Its goal is to help us understand what kind of prior knowledge would be important, useful, and necessary in order to learn the morphology of natural languages. It attempts to answer the question of what Universal Grammar is and what form it takes in an open-minded way.

Learning Swahili morphology, with Fidele Mpiranya. 2018.

Other papers

  • Links to handouts and slides.
  • Link to other papers.
  • Empiricism and Language Learnability


    Empiricism cover

    Towards a new empiricism for linguistics. This is my favorite paper among those I've written. It appears now as chapter 3 in a book that came out in July, 2015, from Oxford University Press, written together with Nick Chater, Alex Clark, and Amy Perfors, pictured on the right. Click for flyer.

    Shaping Phonology

    Diane Brentari and Jackson Lee put out a wonderful book called Shaping Phonology. I am quite amazed by it. Thank you.

    Recent papers

    Lives in Linguistics, with Haj Ross

    This website provides a home for links to a series of videotaped conversations with linguists about their lives, their colleagues, and their work in linguistics.

    This project got underway about ten years ago, when Haj and I were talking about how amazing our colleagues have been---have always been---in linguistics. Yes, they write great papers, and the whole world can appreciate the papers, but there is so much more that comes from hearing people speak, from hearing them think out loud. And from watching them interact with someone else in a conversation, sometimes.

    Other

    Lives in Linguistics, with Haj Ross

    This website provides a home for links to a series of videotaped conversations with linguists about their lives, their colleagues, and their work in linguistics.

    This project got underway about ten years ago, when Haj and I were talking about how amazing our colleagues have been---have always been---in linguistics. Yes, they write great papers, and the whole world can appreciate the papers, but there is so much more that comes from hearing people speak, from hearing them think out loud. And from watching them interact with someone else in a conversation, sometimes.

    Contact information:

    goldsmith@uchicago.edu
    1505 E. 56 St. Chicago IL 60637
    Revised September 2020