Challenging Languages’ Universality

One of the controversial claims that Noam Chomsky presented in his original research was that language is universal and innate.   In David Crystal’s A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics” (4th ed. 1990), this concept is defined this way:  “…universals provide a theory of the human language faculty — those properties of language which are biologically necessary — which is thought to be an important step in the task of understanding human intellectual capacities.”

New research suggests that languages are so idiosyncratic in their development that their nature could not be universal.  Here is the link to a synopsis of the full research report published in April 2011 in Nature:

and here is the link to a synopsis of the article, published in the April 14, 2011 issue of Wired:

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