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a theory usually associated with Noam Chomsky which claims the existence of a human-innate universal grammar conisting of features that all natural human languages share, enabling children to acquire a language without being taught explicitely, but only having to set language-specific parameters ...

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What's the deal with universal grammar?

I've heard that Noam Chomsky was a great man because of his work on "universal grammar", but all the resources I've been able to find about it are very general and I can't find out exactly what it is. ...
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Minimalist Language: List Of Distinct Universal Properties? [duplicate]

I'm wondering if someone has compiled a list of fundamentally distinct characteristics (verbs, adjectives, nouns)? I'm aware of the Toki Poni language, but that's TOO minimalist, it neglects important,...
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40 views

Induction of semantics for grammars of natural languages (as opposed to syntax)

I am learning about combinatory categorial grammars and the formal semantics of natural language, course by Partee http://people.umass.edu/partee/MGU_2005/MGU05_formal_semantics.htm (especially ...
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89 views
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1answer
323 views

Do all languages have the same set of grammatical relations?

As for parts of speech, I am quite sure it is not the case. For instance, some languages are problematic in separating clearly verbs from adjectives like Japanese and Korean, some native American ...
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2answers
115 views

Can framing lang acquisition as nature vs nurture be harmful? [closed]

I'm taking a class in language acquisition called "Nature vs Nurture". I'm not particularly fond of that framing, because the divide seems overly dichotomous. In addition, the N-vs-N debate has been ...
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1answer
194 views

What are the practical implications of Ludwig Wittgenstein's theories in the field of linguistics?

I was wondering how has the field of linguistics was changed (altered? untouched?) by Ludwig Wittgenstein's theories in Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations. All Wittgenstein's work deals ...
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2answers
112 views

Isn't a language where a rule is applied everywhere always overly redundant?

I recently saw this clip where Karl Pilkington visits a Vanuatu tribe, in which it is said that every word of the Ninde language begins with the letter 'n'. I soon called BS, and as the wiki-page I ...
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1answer
67 views

Could anyone explain this grammar question for me? [closed]

According to the grammar rule i have learned up to now, in Arabic people use the feminine form of adjective to describe plural noun (more than two).For instance,دفاتر كشيرة(many books),here we use ...
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2answers
4k views

Sapir-Whorf vs. Chomsky

Can somebody let me know if this is a reasonable explanation for how the two theories are similar and different? This is not for homework, I'm just try to understand the difference, and my textbook ...
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2answers
541 views

How far is Natural semantic metalanguage really natural?

The theory of Natural semantic metalanguage states there are about 70 words we need to describe anything. However, for example DEAD we could express like NOT LIVING and for instance Russian often ...
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5answers
874 views

Does majority of linguists accept universal grammar?

I was trying to educate myself on "big picture" in theoretical linguistics, and started with often mentioned universal grammar, but found online resources very confusing. According to Wikipedia, "...
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88 views

What is the difference between AUG and CCG?

What is the difference between Applicative Universal Grammar and Combinatory Categorial Grammar? They both use type inference rules to define their grammars. Is it simply that CCG uses combinatory ...
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5answers
341 views

Is the concept of a verb-subject complete sentence a cultural/linguistic invariant?

In english, a 'complete sentence' seems to refer to having at least a single, complete clause — i.e. a subject (noun) and verb — e.g. "I run". This seems to be engrained in the concept of a complete ...
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5answers
2k views

Does any linguist honestly believe that nouns and verbs are not universals?

Does any serious scholar really believe that some languages have no distinction between verbs and nouns? Wikipedia pages suggest this. I studied physics, so linguistics is not my field at all. ...
3
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2answers
369 views

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
12k 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.
3
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2answers
186 views

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
266 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
4k 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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0answers
77 views

“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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0answers
317 views

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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3answers
361 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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2answers
2k 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 ...
3
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0answers
374 views

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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1answer
1k 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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2answers
856 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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6answers
3k views

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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3answers
8k views

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
648 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, ...
8
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2answers
830 views

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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8answers
3k views

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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6answers
755 views

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.