Vincolare le teorie linguistiche. Apprendimento ed evoluzione

Translated title of the contribution: [Autom. eng. transl.] Constrain linguistic theories. Learning and evolution

Maria Grazia Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The warning coming from Chomsky’s lesson on language is that any philosophical investigation about the nature of mind must be constrained in terms of psychological plausibility. Specifically – in Chomsky’s model of language – findings from learning theory led to posit the existence of an innate and domain-specific biological organ for language acquisition, the Universal Grammar. However when the question of the evolutionary plausibility is introduced as a further constraint, the hypothesis of Universal Grammar does not seem so satisfactory. As it is shown in contemporary debate, Universal Grammar’s hypothesis seems implausible just from a biological and evolutionary point of view. More broadly, scholars argue that by taking an evolutionary perspective, the assumption of a domainspecific Universal Grammar become superfluous and that language and language acquisition, rather than being a product of a biological organ, is a result of repeated cycles of cultural learning. The main aim of this paper is to discuss this conclusion and to analyze the implication of this viewpoint on the nature of language. While we support the attempt to bind the problem of language acquisition to an evolutionary perspective, we claim that considerations on the cultural nature of language are by no means conclusive. Further arguments and evidences need to be found.
Translated title of the contribution[Autom. eng. transl.] Constrain linguistic theories. Learning and evolution
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Evolutionary Plausibility
  • Language Acquisition
  • Language Theories
  • Psychological Plausibility
  • Universal Grammar


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