- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
- The Oxford Handbook of Universal Grammar
- List of Figures and Tables
- List of Abbreviations
- The Contributors
- Universal Grammar and Philosophy of Mind
- Universal Grammar and Philosophy of Language
- On the History of Universal Grammar
- The Concept of Explanatory Adequacy
- Third-Factor Explanations and Universal Grammar
- Formal and Functional Explanation
- Phonology in Universal Grammar
- Semantics in Universal Grammar
- The Argument from the Poverty of the Stimulus
- First Language Acquisition
- The Role of Universal Grammar in Nonnative Language Acquisition
- Principles and Parameters of Universal Grammar
- Linguistic Typology
- Parameter Theory and Parametric Comparison
- A Null Theory of Creole Formation Based on Universal Grammar
- Language Change
- Language Pathology
- The Syntax of Sign Language and Universal Grammar
- Looking for UG in Animals: A Case Study in Phonology
- Index of Authors
- Index of Subjects
- Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
Abstract and Keywords
Do animals have Universal Grammar? The short answer must be ‘no.’ Otherwise, why do human children learn language with strikingly little conscious effort, while no other animal has even come close to approximating human language, even with extensive training or exposure to massive linguistic input? However, many of the cognitive capacities which clearly serve our linguistic ability—rich conceptual systems, vocal imitation, categorical perception, and so on—are shared with other species, including some of our closest living relatives. This suggests that the question is more complicated than it might first appear. In the present work, we use phonology as a case study to show what type of cross-species evidence may bear—now and in future work—on the issue of whether animals have various components of UG, which we construe here broadly as the systems that are recruited by language but need not be specific to it.
Bridget Samuels is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2009. Her research interests include phonological theory, the syntax-phonology interface, and the evolution of language.
Marc D. Hauser is the President of Risk-Eraser, LLC, a company that uses cognitive and brain sciences to impact the learning and decision making of at-risk children, as well as the schools and programs that support them. He is the author of several books, including The Evolution of Communication (1996, MIT Press), Wild Minds (2000, Henry Holt), Moral Minds (2006), and Evilicious (2013, Kindle Select, CreateSpace), as well as over 250 publications in refereed journals and books.
Cedric Boeckx is Research Professor at the ICREA (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats) and a member of the CLT (Centre de Lingüística Teòrica) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics in 2001 from the University of Connecticut, Storrs. He has held visiting positions at the Universities of Illinois and Maryland, and was a fellow of Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) at Leiden University. His research interests are in theoretical syntax, comparative grammar, and architectural questions of language, including its origins and its development in children and its neurobiological basis. He is the author of, among others, Islands and Chains (Benjamins 2003), Linguistic Minimalism (Oxford University Press, 2006), Understanding Minimalist Syntax (Blackwell, 2008), and Bare Syntax (Oxford University Press, 2008). He has published numerous articles in journals such as Linguistic Inquiry and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.
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