[PLUG-TALK] A universal language?

John Jason Jordan johnxj at comcast.net
Wed Nov 18 13:25:30 PST 2015


On Wed, 18 Nov 2015 12:21:05 -0800
Mel Andres <mel97215 at comcast.net> dijo:

>  I am posting this primarily for John Jason Jordan.
>
>http://www.ancient-code.com/mit-researcher-find-a-universal-language-that-binds-together-all-languages-on-our-planet/

First, the field of linguistics that you want to look at for this kind
of work is typology. Typologists seek language universals and have
discovered a great many of them, some as absolute universals and many,
many more as universal tendencies.

Second, Chomsky (also at MIT) never postulated a universal language as
such, although I doubt he would argue against it. His real claim is that
that there is a universal _grammar_ framework that all humans are born
with, and which infants populate with the rules of the language(s) that
they are exposed to. With the exception of a really bad work on
phonology that he co-authored with Hallé, Chomsky pays no attention to
phonetics/phonology, morphology, historical linguistics,
psycho-/neurolinguistics, or more applied fields such as
sociolinguistics, discourse/conversation analysis, bilingualism, or
corpus linguistics, among others. He doesn't discredit those fields; he
just says they're not his thing. Yet, these are all part of language.
If you are going to postulate a universal language you're going to have
to include a great deal more than just a universal grammar.

It appears that the authors have a pretty good argument for the
existence of another universal tendency. It might have been better had
they published it in a journal dedicated to linguistics. I don't know
of any linguists who read PNAS.



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