Are Modern Linguistic Theories a Useful Tool For Understanding Language and Language Evolution? Opinion article
Svetlana T.davidova
December 2021

Language is a unique phenomenon, a multifaceted complex : it has a physical component ( sound waves), biological component ( it is represented in some way in the human organism) and socio-cultural component . This makes it difficult to define and study. Modern linguistics is an internally fractured field with a multitude of alternative visions of language , the generative/biolinguistic and the functionalist perspectives being the most prominent, where each focusses on a single aspect of language while ignoring the rest. The article argues that linguistic theories borrow theoretical machinery from hard sciences and life sciences, fields only partially implicated in language, and as a result none of them has a complete and full understanding of language as a hybrid and multifaceted phenomenon. This makes modern linguistic theories inadequate for the task each in their own ways and demonstrates the need for a new theoretical framework to faithfully reflect the nature of the object of study. The theoretical pluralism prevalent in the field contributes to the challenges of evolutionary linguistics for which theory of language is foundational.
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Reference: lingbuzz/006372
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keywords: linguistic theory, language evolution, generativism, biolinguistics, functionalism, emergentism, language faculty, ug, semantics, syntax
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