Language structure arises from balance of clear and effective communication | Communication Today |
Language structure arises from balance of clear and effective communication October 15, 2012 When learning a new language, we automatically organize words into sentences that will be both clearly understood and efficient (quick) to communicate. That's the finding of a new study reported today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) which challenges opposing theories on why and how languages come to be organized the way they are. Ads by Google Your Zodiac Horoscope - Insert Your Birthdate & Get Answers about Past-Present and Future. Free - With more than 5000 languages in the world, it would be easy to assume all vary endlessly, but, in fact, there is great commonality: languages follow only a few recurrent patterns. These commonalities are called "language universals," a notion suggested in the 1960's by Noam Chomsky and Joseph Greenberg. A team of researchers from the University of Rochester and Georgetown University Medical Center set out to investigate how these language universals come to be. Linguists and cognitive scientists have opposing ideas on how a language is developed and shaped. Some believe that languages all derived from a common ancestor; others think that languages vary quite widely and universals do not exist at all. Some have suggested that language universals are an arbitrary evolutionary outcome. The position of the Rochester-Georgetown team is that the human mind shapes a language, even while learning it, based on the need for robust and effective information transfer.

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Via Charles Tiayon