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Language Universals$
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Morten H. Christiansen, Christopher Collins, and Shimon Edelman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305432

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305432.001.0001

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Language, Innateness, and Universals

Language, Innateness, and Universals

Chapter:
(p.253) 12 Language, Innateness, and Universals
Source:
Language Universals
Author(s):

Andy Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Jennifer B. Misyak

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305432.003.0012

Using the preceding chapter as a point of departure, this chapter offers a critical perspective on the notion of innate universals. It presents a “minimal nativism” view, according to which a brain area should be seen as embodying a kind of language universal if it is genetically predisposed toward fulfilling a certain sufficiently general linguistic function, for example by virtue of its strategic connectivity. On this view, Broca's area could still count as the brain locus of a linguistic universal, even if it supports other functions beside language.

Keywords:   language universals, human brain, minimal nativism, innate universals, Broca's area

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