Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Universals in Language
The term language universal refers to those features or properties of language that are common to all languages. The notion that languages might share universal features creates a tension of sorts with conceptions of language, as developed by Boas and other early linguistic anthropologists, that held that languages (along with their respective cultures) were infinitely variable, that there were no constraints on the form a human language could take. This view was seriously challenged, in the second half of the 20th century, by the work of Chomsky and other linguists, and also by work on cultural universals carried out Features ...