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The reality of a universal language faculty

  • Steven Pinker (a1) and Ray Jackendoff (a2) (a3)
Abstract

While endorsing Evans & Levinson's (E&L's) call for rigorous documentation of variation, we defend the idea of Universal Grammar as a toolkit of language acquisition mechanisms. The authors exaggerate diversity by ignoring the space of conceivable but nonexistent languages, trivializing major design universals, conflating quantitative with qualitative variation, and assuming that the utility of a linguistic feature suffices to explain how children acquire it.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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