universal grammar

(redirected from Innate grammar)
Also found in: Encyclopedia.

universal grammar

n. Abbr. UG
An innate system of grammatical principles, parameters, and constraints believed to underlie all natural languages.

universal grammar

n
(Linguistics) linguistics (in Chomskyan transformation linguistics) the abstract limitations on the formal grammatical description of all human languages, actual or possible, that make them human languages

u′niver′sal gram′mar



n.
1. a grammar that attempts to establish the properties and constraints common to all possible human languages.
2. the properties and constraints themselves.
[1930–35]
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
In the '50s, Chomsky argues for an innate grammar common to all languages, challenging Sapir and Whorf's idea.
In the "Universal Grammar section, NourbeSe Philip builds on Chomsky's concept of innate grammars (children at birth have the capacity to speak any language they are exposed to) and explores linguistic categorization per se as a historically determined phenomenon.