Universal Grammar (UG) Many linguists claim that there is a great deal in common among the grammars of the world ’ s languages. Most advocates of this position believe that the commonalities exist because linguistic structure is largely determined by human biology. The term ‘ universal grammar ’ is used to mean three subtly different things: i. what is common to the world ’ s languages ii. linguists ’ representations of these commonalities iii. the biological structures that are claimed to underlie the common features Sag et al. (2003: 570)
Evidence for UG in L1A L1A is: Quick Effortless Uniform across stages of acquisition Robust in terms of noisy/variable input It shows equipotentiality across learners
Evidence for UG in SLA? We will consider the evidence in the next module
Reading Gass, S. and L. Selinker 2001: Second language acquisition. An introductory course. (2nd edition) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. (Chapter 1) Hawkins, R. 2001: Second language syntax. A generative introduction. Oxford: Blackwell. (Chapter 1) White, L. 2003: Second language acquisition and Universal Grammar. (2nd edition) Cambridge: CUP. (Chapter 1)
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