Universal grammar as a theory of notation

Axiomathes 16 (4):460-485 (2006)
What is common to all languages is notation, so Universal Grammar can be understood as a system of notational types. Given that infants acquire language, it can be assumed to arise from some a priori mental structure. Viewing language as having the two layers of calculus and protocol, we can set aside the communicative habits of speakers. Accordingly, an analysis of notation results in the three types of Identifier, Modifier and Connective. Modifiers are further interpreted as Quantifiers and Qualifiers. The resulting four notational types constitute the categories of Universal Grammar. Its ontology is argued to consist in the underlying cognitive schema of Essence, Quantity, Quality and Relation. The four categories of Universal Grammar are structured as polysemous fields and are each constituted as a radial network centred on some root concept which, however, need not be lexicalized. The branches spread out along troponymic vectors and together map out all possible lexemes. The notational typology of Universal Grammar is applied in a linguistic analysis of the ‘parts of speech’ using the English language. The analysis constitutes a ‘proof of concept’ in (1) showing how the schema of Universal Grammar is capable of classifying the so-called ‘parts of speech’, (2) presenting a coherent analysis of the verb, and (3) showing how the underlying cognitive schema allows for a sub-classification of the auxiliaries.
Keywords categories  cognition  language  notation  parts of speech  semantics  syntax  universal grammar  verbs
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DOI 10.1007/s10516-005-3407-7
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Noam A. Chomsky (1980). Rules and Representations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (127):1-61.

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