As Garth points out, this is anything but new. In fact, rather than calling it a universal, it makes sense to think of it as a maxim in the Gricean sense (that is it can be flouted for pragmatic effect). That's what John Haiman was getting at in his paper on iconicity from 1982. http://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/conference/10-CompetingMotivations/pdf/Haiman_1983_Iconic_economic_motivation.pdf Sent from my iPhone > On Aug 10, 2015, at 8:45 AM, Garth Wallace <[log in to unmask]> wrote: > >> On Mon, Aug 10, 2015 at 8:03 AM, Jeffrey Brown <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/08/mit-claims-to-have-found-a-language-universal-that-ties-all-languages-together/ >> >> Considering the recent (and fruitless) argument about UG on Conlang >> recently, I am not posting any comments about the above article. >> Draw your own conclusions. > > So their proposed universal is...heavy NP shift?