Universal Grammar

(redirected from Innate grammar)
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Grammar, Universal


a system formed from the universal grammatical categories necessarily present in natural languages and determined by universal laws of thinking, the uniform structure of the world as reflected in human consciousness, and the analogous nature of the requirements and aims of communication (hence, the sentence, predicate, subject, object, number, tense, question, command).

Most universal grammatical categories are logical. A generally accepted example of a grammar based on logical and grammatical categories is the Port-Royal Grammar, constructed by A. Arnauld and C. Lancelot at the French Abbey of Port-Royal (Arnauld and Lancelot, Grammaire générale et raisonnée, 1660). According to some contemporary theories, universal grammatical categories form the deep structure of a language, which, by applying a set of grammatical rules, can be transformed into surface structures—that is, specific sentences expressed in a given language.

Universal grammar also includes the grammatical theory that determines the internal subdivisions of this discipline, the specific character and types of grammatical meanings and categories, and the special features of their interrelationship that form the grammatical system of a language.

Universal grammar studies all the possible means of expressing grammatical meanings in the world’s languages and develops methods of grammatical analysis. Important tasks of universal grammar are the unification and standardization of grammatical terms and the definition of their corresponding concepts.


Jespersen, O. Filosofiia grammatiki. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from English.)
Panfilov, V. Z. Grammatika i logika. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
Admoni, V. G. Osnovy teorii grammatiki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964.
Issledovaniia po obshchei teorii grammatiki. Moscow, 1968.
Universals in Linguistic Theory. New York, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.