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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 January 2010

Ricardo Mairal
Affiliation:
Professor of English Language and Linguistics, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Juana Gil
Affiliation:
Senior Lecturer, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Ricardo Mairal
Affiliation:
Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
Juana Gil
Affiliation:
Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
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Summary

Any mention of linguistic universals means the continuation of a journey begun many years ago, and refers to a topic of debate among both linguists and philosophers, which has been a constant in the history of linguistics throughout the ages.

The debate regarding universals is one of the most fundamental chapters – perhaps the most fundamental – in the history of grammar, and its genesis can be traced back to the very dawn of linguistic reflection. Furthermore, it is a subject that transcends boundaries between academic disciplines since it is one of the cornerstones of the philosophical debate between rationalism and empiricism. Consequently, it is of vital interest not only to linguists, but also to philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, psychobiologists, and ethnologists – in other words, to researchers of all academic disciplines that are involved in what is known today as Cognitive Science.

However, linguistic universals are currently in the limelight because any linguistic theory that aspires to explanatory adequacy must offer a satisfactory answer to the question of why languages that are so apparently different on the surface at the same time present undeniable regularities in their underlying structure. It is no longer a question of merely discussing the existence of universals, but rather of making their existence compatible with the epistemological premises of different theoretical approaches. This book is an explanation of how these approaches have dealt with this task.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • Preface
    • By Ricardo Mairal, Professor of English Language and Linguistics, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Juana Gil, Senior Lecturer, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
  • Edited by Ricardo Mairal, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Juana Gil, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
  • Book: Linguistic Universals
  • Online publication: 08 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618215.001
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  • Preface
    • By Ricardo Mairal, Professor of English Language and Linguistics, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Juana Gil, Senior Lecturer, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
  • Edited by Ricardo Mairal, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Juana Gil, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
  • Book: Linguistic Universals
  • Online publication: 08 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618215.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
    • By Ricardo Mairal, Professor of English Language and Linguistics, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Juana Gil, Senior Lecturer, Department of Modern Languages, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
  • Edited by Ricardo Mairal, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Juana Gil, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
  • Book: Linguistic Universals
  • Online publication: 08 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618215.001
Available formats
×