chapter  1
27 Pages

The Development of Linguistic Systems: Insights From Evolution: John Locke

About a year ago I encountered a statement that, on the surface, appeared to be eminently reasonable. It expressed the idea that linguistics may be able to grapple with evolutionary questions-a matter that has drawn new scholars at an exponential rate over the last 20 years-but not until linguists have come to a decision about what language is. One might suppose that similar thinking applies with equal force to development. How, according to the logic, can we possibly understand the development of language until we nd out precisely what it is that develops?