The myth of language universals: language diversity and its importance for cognitive science.

@article{Evans2009TheMO,
  title={The myth of language universals: language diversity and its importance for cognitive science.},
  author={Nicholas Evans and Stephen C. Levinson},
  journal={The Behavioral and brain sciences},
  year={2009},
  volume={32 5},
  pages={
          429-48; discussion 448-494
        }
}
Talk of linguistic universals has given cognitive scientists the impression that languages are all built to a common pattern. In fact, there are vanishingly few universals of language in the direct sense that all languages exhibit them. Instead, diversity can be found at almost every level of linguistic organization. This fundamentally changes the object of enquiry from a cognitive science perspective. This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and… 

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