Anthropologists versus linguists
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Linguists sometimes complain that other academics treat their subject as if it were a social rather than a cognitive science. Like most disciplines linguistics is very diverse, but the transformational revolution associated with †Chomsky led to acceptance of a view of language as an abstract system, which for theoretical and practical reasons may be studied in isolation from its social and cultural context. For Chomsky, the core subject matter is grammar, and the universal human ability to generate and understand grammatical utterances: linguistic competence. Chomsky has remarked that other disciplines are ‘presumably concerned not with grammars…but rather with concepts of a different sort, among them, perhaps, ‘language’, if such a notion can become an object of serious study’ (1979:190).