Thinking about languages- I speak a few- I find it fascinating that languages follow rules across the board. Of course there are important exceptions in each language, where we just have to memorize these exceptions, but in general, languages seem to follow a systematic structure (some more than others).For instance, similar conjugations apply to a wide family of verbs in English, French, Hindi, Arabic and I would imagine others. Are there any theories as to why languages tend to be structured in this way? Or is it that structured languages survive more than unstructured ones? It is just baffling/wondrous that most languages which have emerged abide by certain rules, rather than languages with exceptions upon exceptions. What gives?
The answer should be clear if you consider what it would mean for a language to have no rules. In English, we have specific words that refer to specific things: horse, car, pig, elephant, stick, and also actions: kick, hit, see, eat. These are "rules" of a type (as a rule, we refer to the equine mammal using the word "horse", and we don't use the word "car" for that purpose. There are rules in English about how to combine words to express the idea "The elephant kicked a pig", "The pig ate a stick", "A car ate a horse", and we can tell because of those rules that the last example refers to a strange situation.
Imagine there was a language with no rules, meaning that you can use any word to refer to anything, in any order, and it doesn't have to be the same if you say the same thing twice, it will come out different. Of would break communication abandon you language because with of were to a would man. dog digging would favor in this language broken communicate an know from no to word way source be bites would action the if idea a man would refer not they bites rules. Indistinguishable another to there be people milk, “cow” of person, the dog or and down, to hole. A using.
There is also a question about why languages tend to have single words constructed out of two or more meaningful parts. This is basically a phonological thing: it's easier to mash everything together, but easier to understand that mashup if the mashed-up word has some sensible structure so that you can tell that part A refers to the subject, part B is the object, part C is the tense and part D is the specific lexical root.
According to Noam Chomsky, languages are basically innate. He points out children acquire language without explicit instruction. Interaction with language activates the language function. The structure of language corresponds to the structure of the brain functions that operate it; i.e. the left hemisphere of the brain leaves an "impression" on language. That is what is left, the structures of verb, noun, tense, declination, and the like. It is the pattern that is readily adapted to the sounds it is exposed to, i.e. the spoken language. Human languages correspond because rules of grammar are presumably artifacts of the communicators, humans, who use them.