The "G" Stands for "Generative Grammar"

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Via Andrew Sullivan, the Ali G interview with Noam Chomsky:

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  1. Awesome.

    Respek.

  2. I think Noam’s head hurts they way that mine does after listening to him talk about politics. thanks Ali G.

  3. Ali G. Has there ever been anything more effective at exposing the obtuseness of the pompous?

    Word out.

  4. LOL, Noam Chomsky is such a dick.

  5. Zach:
    At least his dick isn’t sitting on his shoulders, you ingnorant fuck.

  6. “At least his dick isn’t sitting on his shoulders, you ingnorant fuck.”

    Desktop computer: $400
    Internet Connection: $30/month
    Making an ass out of yourself when you misspell ignorant: Priceless.

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  8. Not one of Ali G’s better interviews, imho. One or two laughs. Chomsky might be pompous, but he actually knows what he’s talking about when it comes to linguistics. Ali G is much more effective when he’s interviewing the pompous who have ridiculous theories or ideas that are dressed up, clouded in jargon or half-baked reasoning, to looked respectable. So, I think it would have been funnier if he’d gone after Chomsky’s anarcho-syndicalism, stressed the syndicalism part, talked about a cousin in the mob with good street cred, asked questions about how it would work for the Corleone family to run the whole government, etc.

  9. yeah noam is a dick at least partially in the political sphere…he gets the analysis right but his conclusion come out of …well far left field.

    anyway he comes off looking pretty good in this interview…much better then others i have seen.

  10. Chomsky might be pompous, but he actually knows what he’s talking about when it comes to linguistics.

    Yeah, in the field of linguistics, Chomsky is brilliant, and very well-respected even by those who could give a shit about his politics.

    He sure looks humorless in this clip, though.

  11. The whole joke is Ali G confusing “bilingual” and “bisexual”. It’s a sad waste of Noam Chomsky’s valuable time.

  12. “Chomsky might be pompous, but he actually knows what he’s talking about when it comes to linguistics.

    Yeah, in the field of linguistics, Chomsky is brilliant, and very well-respected even by those who could give a shit about his politics.”

    Actually, in the field of linguistics, the knives have been out for him for a long, long time. He has his disciples, and they are prominent in a lot of departments, but he has many detractors. Even back in the seventies he was already staring to sound played out and his proposals were looking more and more desperate. He comes across as a Platonist – pretty strange for somemone working in an empirical science.

  13. Exactly what benefit is the field of linguistics to any normal person? What valueable good or service does this man produce? How does his work make the world a better place?

    Knowing little about linguistics, I’m tempted to believe that Chomsky’s existence will ultimately make many more people worse off than better off.

  14. Chomsky sure doesn’t say anything here that an intelligent four-year-old couldn’t come up with. “I would love to be bilingual”??? This guy is the world’s greatest linguist or something and he couldn’t, you know, teach himself Spanish along the way?

  15. Chimpsky was being a bit modest. From what I’ve heard he speaks a French quite well and knows Hebrew and a smattering of other languages. Besides, linguistics is not about becoming a polyglot as many people assume.

    What value is the field of linguistics? Well, research in linguistics has fed into the computational sciences for one. Understanding the incredibly complex nature of language and natural language processing has led into rich insights into computational work. The link between cognitive psychology and linguistics is particularly strong as well, which can tell us many things about how the mind works. See Steven Pinker. This research is valuable in so many ways – to dealing with people recovering from head injuries, to understanding what children need and probably more importantly, don’t necessarily need, in their development, to the development of tools or ideas for dealing with autism, down syndrome, to just understanding an important part of what makes the human species unique.

    Understanding how people learn first and second languages potentially leads into pedagogical insights about what to teach and not to teach as well as how one can negotiate one’s own learning of another language. There’s interesting work in language as a mediating tool between language, culture, and the development of the self. Then there’s insights into in the study of discourse analysis, the construction of narratives – which leads into investigating other tools of reasoning and thinking through problems – how do people construct their view of themselves, what makes them tick, what are the narrative elements and moments that influenced them and related to their current construction of self (which could potentially be of benefit to the libertarian movement which seems pretty clueless when it comes to understanding what moves people, how people change their minds if they do, etc.) which can be helpful to curriculum development in language learning and the language arts in general. That’s not a complete list either. I suppose though the question could be posed for just about any academic discipline. What good is entomology?

    This is not to say I defend his politics. While he’s a useful for digging up a lot of U.S. government dirt, his own solutions seem terribly regressive and ultimately authoritarian. Too bad he knows nothing about how economic systems work.

    1. Linguistics is useful, but Chomsky’s approach to linguistics is useless and even he knows it, as indicated in the following quotation:

      “I don’t think modern linguistics can tell you very much of practical utility. … Psychology and linguistics have caused a good deal of harm by pretending to have answers to those questions and telling teachers and people who deal with children how they should behave.” (Chomsky 1988: 180)

      Even worse, the majority of linguists have now concluded that Chomsky’s linguistics is some kind of magical creationism because his claims about a genetic Language Acquisition Device are unsupportable (see Christiansen & Chater 2008; Lieberman 2006) and his claims about universals are Eurocentric imperialism (see Evans & Levinson 2009). His hypocrisy as a supposed opponent of imperialism is one of the great contradictions/hoaxes of modern scholarship.

      Chomksy, N. (1988). Language and problems of knowledge: The Managua lectures. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
      Christiansen, M.H. & Chater, N. (2008). Language as shaped by the brain. Behavioral & Brain Sciences, 31, 489-558.
      Evans, N., & Levinson, S. (2009). The myth of language universals: Language diversity and its importance for cognitive science. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32, 429-492.
      Lieberman, P. (2006). Toward an evoluationary biology of language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  16. Mark:

    AI research and much of post Wittgenstein philosophy of mind spend a lot of energy on linguistics.

  17. I’m just not a fan of the ambush interview. It is really the same thing Michael Moore does. It’s easy to make someone look like an ass when you have a plan and a camera and the other guy doesn’t isn’t in on it.

    I can’t stand Chomsky, but the same approach would work on Ron Paul, Milton Friedman, or any one of us.

  18. Making an ass out of yourself when you misspell ignorant: Priceless.

    All Bob’s base are belong to mediageek.

    It’s a sad waste of Noam Chomsky’s valuable time.

    The yuks just never quit on this thread.

  19. “I can’t stand Chomsky, but the same approach would work on Ron Paul, Milton Friedman, or any one of us.”

    Not me. I watch Da Ali G Show on occassion.

    And if you want to see funny, his interview with the BATFE guy is great.

  20. I’m just not a fan of the ambush interview. It is really the same thing Michael Moore does. It’s easy to make someone look like an ass when you have a plan and a camera and the other guy doesn’t isn’t in on it.

    If you ever watched Ali G, the point really isn’t to make people look like an ass. It isn’t political like Michael Moore. It is pretty much just pure comedy and entertainment.

    What is interesting, is that in the Pat Bucanan Ali G interview, Pat actually managed to look smarter than the Chompster.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwEd_tcKBfU&search=ali%20g%20pat

  21. I never saw that Buchanan interview before. He really handled it well. You’ve got to hand it to Pitchfork Pat: Even his biggest enemies say he’s really likable in person, and I can believe it.

  22. Yo bro, I didn’t diss linguistics…

  23. Yeah, s’what’s entomology good fer, anyways!?

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