Notes on Language Origin


Regardless of to what extent the ability of language is instinctive, the fact is that language per se is an invention—or more accurately, individual languages are inventions.  Whatever the “language instinct” is, it does not provide specific words, grammatical structures, or degrees of concreteness and abstraction.  These vary too widely to be instinctive.  It thus seems to me that the efforts of evolutionary psychologists to pinpoint the “modules” responsible for various aspects of language are, to say the least, unilluminating.

Go to the Notes on Language Origin page to read the full essay.

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