Is "universal grammar" a generally accepted idea?

asked 2016-01-05 15:08:35 -0500

I have read a number of "popular" books and articles about linguistics and, in particular, the development of language and first language acquisition. The idea of a hard-wired universal grammar is sometimes treated as a given but I have also read arguments that language acquisition can be explained by "general cognitive abilities", although that seems rather vague. As I understand it there are at least two major issues with the universal grammar viewpoint. First, there is a seemingly short window during which this complex functionality could have evolved. Second, the ability to create and understand extremely complex grammatical constructions appears to be disconnected from the evolutionary "needs" of early humans. I would like to know whether these issues have been answered in any way or if alternative theories have replaced the idea of universal grammar. Thanks for any replies...

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