more from Keith Devlin

Single Idea 8073

[catalogued under 19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 1. Syntax]

Full Idea

How do people identify subject and verb in the sentences "time flies like an arrow" and "fruit flies like an apple"?

Gist of Idea

How do we parse 'time flies like an arrow' and 'fruit flies like an apple'?


Keith Devlin (Goodbye Descartes [1997], Ch. 1)

Book Reference

Devlin,Keith: 'Goodbye Descartes: the end of logic' [Wiley 1997], p.7

A Reaction

A nice illustration of the fact that even if we have an innate syntax mechanism, it won't work without some semantics, and some experience of the environmental context of utterances.