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A refutation of “a refutation of universal grammar”(Lin, f. 2017. Lingua 193. 1–22.)

Tong Wu

Abstract

Lin (2017), according to the author, “offers a refutation of Chomsky’s Universal Grammar (UG) from a novel perspective”. Unfortunately, “novel” does not mean logical or valid. On the contrary, as I will show in this refutation of Lin’s refutation, there is a profound and fundamental misunderstanding in Lin’s interpretation of UG. His refutation only proves his superficial understanding of the questions raised and discussed, which nevertheless are worth discussing and explaining. I take each of Lin’s arguments in turn and attempt to show why they are not well founded, either because of flaws in his argumentation or because of a careful consideration of the available empirical evidence. In the first section I show that Lin’s refutation of UG is illogical in that he confuses UG as a theoretical construct and as a reality entity, which renders his own analysis self-contradictory. The second section aims to examine in detail the so-called novelty of Lin’s refutation, proving that his refutation is unscientific. The third section offers a point-to-point refutation of his arguments presented in the third section of his paper. The fourth section furthermore points out several misunderstandings of previous studies against Chomsky and UG. The last section concludes the paper.


Central China Normal University 152 Luoyu Road Hongshan District Wuhan, 430079 People’s Republic of China

6

6 Acknowledgements

This study was financed by the 2018 Humanities and Social Science Project (18YJC740115) of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China. I would like to thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers of PSiCL for their comments and suggestions. If any imperfection remains, the fault is mine.

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Published Online: 2020-03-10
Published in Print: 2020-03-26

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