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Comment on Is Language a Window into Human Nature?

Wildcat Mon, May 11, 2009
A Cultural Law of Gravity
A fascinating post on Babel's Dawn, concerning language variations and the fixity of culture.

"..It is now well established that language cannot follow just any old rules. Linguists a few decades back thought there was no limit to the variety of language, but research has since identified a number of formal constraints that mark boundaries. Language can work within those borders, but not cross them. The trouble with those borders is understanding what these constraints mean psychologically and neurologically. There must be some reason beyond the formal rules for why these constraints existed. We hardly know how to think about these matters, let alone explain them. A letter in the most recent issue of Nature reminds me, however, that clues are coming in from, of all places, songbirds."

read it here