chapter  4
22 Pages

Ecolinguistics: A Radical Behavior Theory Approach to Language Behavior Kurt Sa/zinger

It is important to point out the assumptions that the generativist psycho linguist makes in contrast to the assumptions that I am trying to make for the field of ecolinguistics. According to the former, the task of the scientist is to study the underlying principles explaining language by manufacturing situations that provide the essential aspects minus the interfering social, psychological, and neural, receptor, and effector factors that serve to obscure those underlying principles. This approach resembles the model employed for the investigation of visual thresholds as a function of wavelength. Blough (1961) trained his pigeons to respond so precisely to the presence or absence of a light that the relative sensitivity curves that he obtained behaviorally, separately for the rods and cones, were almost the same as the ones obtained by the microelectrode and the photochemical absorption method. In this model of the functioning of the eye, it was possible to show that when the behavior was evoked under conditions of sufficient control, it merely mirrored what was happening neurally and biochemically in the retina of the eye of the pigeon.