The final blow to Universal Grammar: Studies show the language capacity predates humans.

Georgetown University Medical Center has recently conducted a research which concludes that there´s not a special area of the brain dedicated to language but we make use of two areas of the brain, which exist in every animal.

The two areas in question are the declarative and procedural memory. The first one helps animals remembering arbitrary information, such as where they hid their food or where they built their homes. The second one helps animals carry out learned actions, like flying, fighting or chasing a prey. In language, declarative memory helps us remember a lexicon, which is arbitrary information, and procedural memory helps us put together words into meaningful sentences. Procedural memory is actually used in every single activity we perform, such as playing an instrument, walking, cooking or riding a bike.

These discovery deals a final blow to the absurd theory of Universal Grammar, which seems to come from a fanatic religious view that humans are specially designed creatures. These research throws more light in a matter which intuitively leads us to the conclusion that humans, same as animals, need to communicate and make use of the tools they possess to do so. There is nothing special about a kid learning a mother tongue, the same as there´s nothing special about a wolf learning how to howl. Communication is simply key to their existence and therefore it only makes sense that a great part of their energies will be dedicated to this goal. Universal grammar appeared once as a magic answer that solves no riddle, same as the idea of a god to account for the mysteries of the universe. Now that the Neo-Dark Ages are over, we´re starting to go back to rational thinking, looking at other species in our search for answers about what makes us humans.


I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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