Linguistics: The Garden and the Bush


I want to thank the ACL for the Lifetime Achievement Award of 2016. I am deeply honored, and I share this honor with the outstanding collaborators and students I have been lucky to have over my lifetime. The title of my talk describes two fields of linguistics, which differ in their approaches to data and analysis and in their fundamental concepts. What I call the garden is traditional linguistics, including generative grammar. In the garden linguists primarily analyze what I call “cultivated” data—that is, data elicited or introspected by the linguist—and form qualitative generalizations expressed in symbolic representations such as syntactic trees and prosodic phrases. What I am calling the bush could also be called “the wilderness.” In the bush they collect “wild data,” spontaneously produced by speakers, and form quantitative generalizations based on concepts such as conditional probability and information content. r The garden:

DOI: 10.1162/COLI_a_00260

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Cite this paper

@article{Bresnan2016LinguisticsTG, title={Linguistics: The Garden and the Bush}, author={Joan Bresnan}, journal={Computational Linguistics}, year={2016}, volume={42}, pages={599-617} }