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Universal grammar is dead

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2009

Michael Tomasello
Affiliation:
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany. tomas@eva.mpg.de

Abstract

The idea of a biologically evolved, universal grammar with linguistic content is a myth, perpetuated by three spurious explanatory strategies of generative linguists. To make progress in understanding human linguistic competence, cognitive scientists must abandon the idea of an innate universal grammar and instead try to build theories that explain both linguistic universals and diversity and how they emerge.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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References

Tomasello, M. (2003a) Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Tomasello, M. (2008) The origins of human communication. MIT Press.Google Scholar