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The Philosophy of Universal Grammar$
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Wolfram Hinzen and Michelle Sheehan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654833

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654833.001.0001

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The project of a science of language

The project of a science of language

(p.1) 1 The project of a science of language
The Philosophy of Universal Grammar

Wolfram Hinzen

Michelle Sheehan

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 re-thinks the foundations of grammar by putting the contemporary version of universal grammar into a broader historical and systematic perspective. History helps, both to see continuity in our insight into the nature of grammar over the eons, and to see quite different takes on it. In contemporary linguistics, historical awareness of the roots of the contemporary version of the enterprise tends to stop with the rationalist Port Royal tradition; but there are at least two other sciences of grammar, which offer quite different visions of what grammar actually is: in particular, some later instances of Ancient Indian grammar and Modistic grammar. Wedding the enormous descriptive and empirical richness of modern generative grammar to these more ancient and medieval frameworks of thought, leads, we contend, to an ultimately more interesting result

Keywords:   Universal Grammar, Modistic grammar, Indian grammar, Port Royal, Cartesian linguistics, Un-Cartesian-linguistics, language and metaphysics, modes of signifying

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