Nargis Present New 6
CHOMSKYAN VS GREEN BERG UNIVERSAL
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nargis Present New 6
GREEN BERG UNIVERSAL
Chomsky’s Universal Grammar
• Noam Chomsky is well known on two fronts, as a
philosopher and as a social thinker. He is justifiably
famous today for his efforts to combat social injustice,
which has led him to present a radical critique of the
institutions of power in modern society. His fame initially
arose, however, from his work as a linguistic philosopher
and his still controversial suggestion that the human brain
is somehow equipped at birth with a Universal Grammar out
of which all human languages later develop.
• Universal grammar (UG) is a theory in linguistics, usually credited
to Noam Chomsky, proposing that the ability to
learn grammar is hard-wired into the brain.It is sometimes known as
mental grammar, and as opposed to other 'grammars', e.g.
prescriptive, descriptive and pedagogical. The theory suggests that
linguistic ability manifests itself without being taught (see the poverty
of the stimulus argument), and that there are properties that all
natural human languages share. It is a matter of observation and
experimentation to determine precisely what abilities are innate and
what properties are shared by all languages.
Chomsky argued that the human brain contains a limited set of rules
for organizing language. This implies in turn that all languages have a
common structural basis; the set of rules is what is known as universal
• Speakers proficient in a language know which expressions are
acceptable in their language and which are unacceptable. The key
puzzle is how speakers come to know these restrictions of their
language, since expressions that violate those restrictions are not
present in the input, indicated as such
As Chomsky puts it, "Evidently, development of language in the individual must
involve three factors:
(1) genetic endowment, which sets limits on the attainable languages, thereby
making language acquisition possible;
(2) external data, converted to the experience that selects one or another
language within a narrow range;
(3) principles not specific to FL."[FL is the faculty of language, whatever
properties of the brain cause it to learn language.]
Chomsky, and Fitch present the three leading hypotheses for how language
evolved and brought humans to the point where we have a Universal Grammar.
states that FLB (the Faculty of Language in the broad sense) is strictly
homologous to animal communication. This means that homologous aspects of
the Faculty of Language exist in non-human animals.
states that FLB "is a derived, uniquely human adaptation for language". This
hypothesis believes that individual traits were subject to natural selection and
came to be very specialized for humans.
states that only FLN (the Faculty of Language in the narrow sense) is unique to
humans. It believes that while mechanisms of FLB are present in both humans
and non-human animals.
• Joseph Greenberg, 1963: “Some Universals of Grammar
with Particular Reference to the Order of Meaningful
If both the derivation and inflection follow the root, or
they both precede the root, the derivation is always
between the root and the inflection.
• If a language has inflection, it always has derivation.
• No language has a trial number unless it has a dual. No
language has a dual unless it has a plural.
• If a language has the category of gender, it always has the
category of number.
• A language never has more gender categories in
nonsingular numbers than in the singular.
• All the languages of the world have vowels and consonants.
• All the languages of the world have yes/no-questions.
• All languages have pronominal categories involving at least three
persons and two numbers.
• All most all the languages have nasal consonants.
• On a more abstract level, the assumption on the language capacity in
terms of Chomsky also belong to this type. The properties of
Universal Grammar applies to all the languages of the world.