The Past and Future of Universal Grammar

December 15, 2011 - December 18, 2011
Durham University

Calman Learning Centre
United Kingdom

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Grammar is universal in human populations, pathologies aside. A theory of grammar should thus be a universal theory in this sense. Yet it is widely contended today that it need not be the theory of Universal Grammar (UG), in the sense of its early generative formulations, which have taken UG to be a linguistically specific and species-specific biological endowment consisting of functionally arbitrary formal rules. Theories of universal grammar have also been formulated in a number of different ways in the past, with far from identical underlying axiomatic assumptions. Furthermore, the modern theory of UG itself is currently undergoing a significant reformulation, following the development of Minimalism. This conference aims to provide a forum for assessing and (re-)directing the course that research on universal grammar and the biological foundations of language should take over the coming years and decades, bringing together linguists, psychologists, philosophers, and biologists.

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December 15, 2011, 9:00am BST

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