Those aspects of grammar which are universal, and which are assumed to be part of the innate knowledge of human beings.

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Chomsky's Universal grammar and Evolution of human languages

I've recently came across Chomsky's universal grammar, and I'm very much wondering about one specific question. I was trying to find references, however didn't find any explanation in the huge amount ...
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2answers
314 views

What do all languages have in common? [closed]

What do all languages have in common ? I'm looking for a list of features (such as grammatical, semantic or phonetic elements) that are present in all natural languages.
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Resources to Chomsky's Universal Grammar

I need a list of resources to Chomsky's theory of universal grammar and generative grammar that help me from zero to recent-research level [I myself do formal mathematical logic and am not totally ...
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1answer
170 views

Is language really too complex for children?

One of the maxims of universal grammar is that children's language acquisition indicates the existence of a genetically preprogrammed language faculty. Because a child cannot master certain complex ...
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1answer
599 views

What is the difference between “Topic” and “Focus”

What is the difference between grammatical categories "Topic" and "Focus"? They are both optional, and they succeed "Force" and they both seem to stress a part of text. Rizzi places them in the ...
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“Such” as a pronoun and “Reduction Transformations”

I just ran into this in the novel "Pride and Prejudice" -"Ah! you do not know what I suffer." -"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into ...
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Is there any evidence pro/contra Du Bois' Preferred Argument Structure (ergative patterning in discourse)?

In The Discourse Basis of Ergativity published in Language in 1987, John W. Du Bois proposed a theory which stated that (p. 850) [universally] the distribution of new information vs. old ...
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191 views

Do languages with high use of grammatical aspect generally lack grammatical tense?

From my understanding of Chinese, the language lacks any sort of grammatical tense but is instead very aspect driven when describing actions. Is this a reoccurring pattern among languages with a high ...
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769 views

Are universal grammar and Sapir-Whorf really competing theories?

I consider myself a neo-Whorfian and see major flaws in universal grammar, but it doesn't seem to me like they are truly competing theories. Cutting out all of the parts about how language is acquired ...
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How did Sanskrit embedding evolve?

This question is an extension of this one: How did Chinese recursion evolve? . In the comments, Mark Beadles helpfully pointed out that center-embedding is absent from Sanskrit in the early Vedic ...
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572 views

How did Chinese recursion evolve?

The modern Chinese linguistic recursion system is essentially the same as English. If you have a highly embedded sentence, you can translate it word for word, the embedding is very much the same. In ...
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587 views

Language phenomena suggestive of Universal Grammar

A recent question on this site led to some discussion which provoked the following comment by one of our community members: UG is "controversial in the latter interpretation" only insofar as ...
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Does Pirahã syntax contradict the principles of Universal Grammar?

The Wikipedia article on Universal Grammar cites the research by Everett (2005) about the Pirahã language: Finally, in the domain of field research, the Pirahã language is claimed to be a ...
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What are the arguments against Chomsky's Universal Grammar?

What are the most convincing and most popular arguments against the Innateness Hypothesis of Universal Grammar or Universal Grammar as described by Chomsky?
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1answer
394 views

Is it possible to analyse Māori grammar without contrasting nouns and verbs?

In order to prepare myself for a glorious sports event this weekend, I've bought and read a book about Māori. If my sources are to be believed, Māori is relatively close to other Polynesian languages, ...
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What is the origin of the “hierarchy of projections”, the language system or (some) conceptual system?

All languages display some form of the hierarchy of projections, to the extent we understand what this is: in a given clause, roughly, complementizers are higher than inflectional heads are higher ...
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What are some alternatives to Chomskian generative grammar?

What are the other common approaches to study syntax? Note: the source is an example question from the on-topic question list in Area51.
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What is a comprehensive recent discussion of the status of Chomsky's universal grammar theory?

In particular, I am interested in the suggested common features of creole languages more or less grammaticalized by children.