Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

The universal basis of local linguistic exceptionality

Daniel Harboura1

a1 Department of Linguistics, Queen Mary University of London, London, E1 4NS, United Kingdom.


Evans & Levinson (E&L) claim Kiowa number as a prime example of the semantically unexpected, threatening both Universal Grammar and Linguistic Universals. This commentary, besides correcting factual errors, shows that the primitives required for Kiowa also explain two unrelated semantically unexpected patterns and derive two robust Linguistic Universals. Consequently, such apparent exceptionality argues strongly for Universal Grammar and against E&L.

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