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On Tue, 27 Jan 1998, Raymond A. Brown wrote:
 
[...]
> What I was commenting on is the *fact* that these "language
> universals" are very controversial.  That means, as far as I
> can see, they are not apparent to everyone - or the same
> universals are not apparent.  What I do find difficult to
> understand is if these are in-born universals why there is the
> controversy.
 
There's a lot of controversy about what's genetic and what's not.  Why
should language universals be an exception?
 
> That has absolutely nothing to do with *my* not looking.  I
> have studied to a lesser or greater degree quite a number of
> languages for nearly 50 years.
[...]
 
But studying languages means exactly to study the _non_universal
aspects of them.  This is another reason why the universals are so
difficult to get a formulation of.
 
[...]
 
> > It seems to me obvious that human language didn't
> > suddenly appear from nothing.
>
> ....same as the first human didn't suddenly appear out of
> nowhere.  I didn't say that human language suddenly appeared
> from nothing.
 
But so said I!  My assumption is that the human language faculty
originally was a mutation.
 
[...]
 
--
Jens S. Larsen  *  <"http://dorit.ihi.ku.dk/~steng/index">