- 章节名：language universals
- 2014-01-26 11:11:20
The grammar includes everything speakers know about their language — the sound system, called phonology; the system of meaning, called semantics; the rules of word formation, called morphology; and the rules of sentence formation, called syntax. It also, of course, includes the vocabulary of words — the dictionary or lexicon. Many people think of the grammar of a language as referring largely to morphological rules like “add –s to third-person singular verbs”, or syntactic rules such as “a sentence consists of a subject and a predicate.” This is often what students mean when they talk about their class in English grammar. It is certainly the business of a grammarian to find out, and not to make, the laws of a language.There is a universal grammar that is part of the human biologically endowed language faculty. ——Chomsky To discover the nature of this universal grammar whose principles characterize all human languages is a major aim of linguistic theory. The linguist's goal is to discover the law of human language. The complexity of language, a product of the human brain, undoubtedly means this goal will never be fully achieved. All scientific theories are incomplete, and new hypotheses must be proposed to account for new data. Theories are continually changing as new theories are made. Chomsky proposed that human beings are born with an innate blueprint for language, what we referred to earlier as Universal Grammar. Children are able to acquire language as quickly and effortlessly as they do because they do not have to figure out all the rules of their language, only those that are specific to their particular language. The universal properties — the laws of language — are part of their biological endowment. Linguistic theory aims to uncover those principles that characterize all human languages and to reveal the innate component of language that makes language acquisition possible.
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