Ashwathi Puravankara MenonDownload this article

Emory University

 

Abstract

Language is a biological entity; a genetically transmitted trait; an innate capacity that every human is born with. Assuming that this Chomskian view of a "genetic" Language is true, through this working paper, I hope to elaborate and expand the definition of Language by outlining the characteristics conferred to it due to its nature as a biological trait. I propose, firstly, that there is intrinsic variation among Language(s) inherited by individuals in a population; secondly, that Language is susceptible to natural and social selection - and finally, I will conclude by discussing some advantages afforded to Language by being invested in and transmitted through a biological or genetic scaffold. By revisiting and reanalyzing Language/ Universal Grammar from a biological/ genetic lens, I hope to supplement and expand the boundaries of how Language is defined.

 

Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Linguistics Conference at UGA (2016)

 

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