Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Clahsen: Rules of language

Syntax, or, the embryogenesis of meaning

Paul J. M. Jorion a1
a1 Théorie et Praxis, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, 75270 Paris, Cedex 06, France


Syntax is better viewed as the dynamics of a morphogenetic field on a semantic universe of “content” words. This may take widely different forms, making the acquisition of any language by an aspiring speaker an entirely new experience. The existence of an underlying “universal syntax” might be illusory.