Article published in:Time and Again: Theoretical perspectives on formal linguistics. In honor of D. Terence Langendoen
Edited by William D. Lewis, Simin Karimi, Heidi Harley and Scott O. Farrar
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 135] 2009
► pp. 227–232
11. Biolinguistics today and Platonism yesterday
This contribution expounds on ideas put forth by a group of New York City generative grammarians that language possesses certain essential features that are uncaused and adhere to an abstract ideal form. An analogy of the situation with language is made with certain natural properties of numbers. It is also noted that this situation contrasts with that of the functional structure of human color vision. This idea is viewed alongside recent work in biolinguistics and is compared to the neoplatonist view of language, namely that language is discovered by the child learner and not triggered. The main consequences of this idea are discussed both within the historical context and with respect to current theories on language acquisition.
Published online: 08 January 2009