Jotham, you're a little off base trying to tar people like Halliday with a Skinnerian brush dipped in Pavlovian puppy drool.
My question — Is this close to Pavlovian thinking? — wasn't posed facetiously or mockingly. Although I can see that it might have come off that way, it wasn't my intention — and I couldn't think of Skinner's name at the time. I know the old behaviorist school of thought is different from today's functionalist in important ways, although I'm not sure exactly how. My knowledge is limited, but I know that Chomsky totally discredited the behaviorist in a way that functionalists admit; but in many ways, to me, the functionalists seem similar to behaviorists in other aspects. You can help educate me.
At any rate, my point was to show others that there is a real division between Chomsky and functionalists, and your reaction backs me up on that. My feeling is that Chomsky totally lambasted the behaviorists, but functionalists only rejected the bits that had to be honestly rejected.
Unlike functionalists, I believe that people can think without using words or language. I think they can think with words as well, but more importantly, I think they can think without words. Sometimes, I get excited about an idea and I talk 100 miles-per-hour talking about my succession of ideas, and then I have an idea that makes me stop, because, temporarily, I don't have the words or vocabulary to express it. Or sometimes, the right word is on the tip of my tongue; I know the concept and I know there's a word there describing it, but it takes me five minutes of thinking before it comes to me. During those times, I thought about something without having the necessary words.
This explains some of the differences grammarians and linguists have. Editors like to think that you can better express your thoughts if you just think about and carefully choose your words better. In other words, the thought is the same, but the words are a better vehicle. Linguists, on the other hand, generally think that what anyone says, however crassly, was
the exact essence of their thoughts, and that changing the words (whether for "better" or "worse"), would necessarily change the thought as well to something different. So to them, editing and the concept that some people communicate their thoughts better than others is anathema. To them, it would be like saying that one's thoughts are better than others.