Commentary published in:Biological Evolution: More than a metaphor for grammar change
Edited by Maria Rita Manzini
[Evolutionary Linguistic Theory 3:1] 2021
► pp. 73–82
Darwinian language evolution
Remarks on Haider’s Grammar change
Haider’s target paper presents a fresh and inspiring look at the nature of grammar change. The overall impression of his approach is very convincing, especially his insistence on the point that language was not selected for communication – hence it is no adaptation to communicative use. Nevertheless, I think three topics are in need of further discussion and elaboration. First, I will discuss the question whether Haider’s conception of Darwinian selection covers all aspects of grammar change. Second, I will consider the question of whether an approach that dispenses with UG (as Haider’s does) can explain why grammars are the way they are. Third, I will question Haider’s equation of grammar with the genotype and of speech with the phenotype and develop an alternative and more appropriate proposal where, among others, speech corresponds to behavior.
Keywords: UG, grammaticalization, language change, Darwinian selection
Published online: 02 August 2021
Hauser, M. D., Chomsky, N., & W. T. Fitch
Lasnik, H., & Sobin, N.
Narrog, H., & Heine, B.
Pinker, St., & Bloom, P.