Monday, January 29, 2007

interesting poll results

Although this may sound like a complaint, it's really more of an observation. A few weeks ago, when I began teaching a graduate phonology seminar (whose focus is more in the domain of morphology, actually), I asked all of my students - anonymously - to write down the names of two generative theories of morphology and one non-generative theory of morphology. Interestingly, they were all able to name one generative theory (and guess what? they all named the same one!) and none could name a second. And aside from one student, nobody could name a non-generative theory. I am not wise enough to know whether a generative model or a non-generative model is correct, of course, so my poll really wasn't some plot to get people to believe in any particular model, but I found it fascinating that their knowledge was so limited. So I worry that it's not a very good thing for students (or any linguist, for that matter) to be so closed-minded as to not even have the ability to name other theories. Yes, I have been losing sleep over this.