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Durham e-Theses
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The essentialist construction of Tense and the format of a universal grammar

XIE, WEI (2024) The essentialist construction of Tense and the format of a universal grammar. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



In short, the current thesis is centered on building up a universal grammar, which, in connection with the notion of innateness, can be deemed as something naturally present in human’s mind. With this said, what lies at the core of a universal grammar, I argue, is the linguistic construal about how the term natural imposes constraint on the construction of a universal grammar. For this thesis, importantly, the criterion for the success of that is primarily epistemological, since there can only be one uniquely correct account of an innate grammar. In that, there should be some ‘undeniable facts’ clarified about innateness. It means that an innate grammar should be based on some necessary truths, so that the entire theoretical expansion of it can be carried out along rigid lines, whereby the unique correctness can be verified. In this connection, an innate grammar must be a metaphysical commitment at the same time. Undoubtedly, a discussion about an innate (thus universal) grammar will be incomplete without commenting on generative grammar, which began with Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures (1957) and has been considered as a formal/mental revolution in the field of linguistics ever since (see Newmeyer 1995; Hinzen and Sheehan 2013). However, the current thesis will adopt a critical perspective in doing that, which revolves around one doubt: how is generative grammar innate?

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 Mar 2024 10:38

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