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April 21st, 2011

celamity: (text)
Thursday, April 21st, 2011 06:48 am
I don't believe in universal grammar. I find there's something very unsatisfying in the whole idea that our grammar features should be something imprinted in our brains the same way the blueprint for our eyes or skin are; I prefer the notion that we acquire language from our peers and parents, and that the reason we struggle to learn new languages past our formative years is due to the lessened plasticity of the brain (blindfold a child from birth until seven or eight, and its eyes will never learn to see). Why should humans have genetic grammar constructs if apes and birds do not?

I read an article in the Economist today about a recently published paper (link to summary) that concludes that it is nuture and ancestry that dictates how we speak, not nature. We do not genetically inherit our 'universal grammar' elements, but learn them from family and peers.

I always enjoy it when a scientific theory I support gets a good solid boost :)
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