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By Todd F. Heathertona and Dylan D. Wagnera

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Why might we not suppose that orb web– spinning spiders come equipped 44 The “Specialness” of Humans with some kind of “universal grammar” of web construction, complete with angles and relative proportions of height and breadth, perhaps incorporating knowledge of things like the tensile strength of viscous substances, basic properties of geometrical figures, effects of wind velocity, temperature, humidity, and the like, modifiable by experience and the example of conspecifics, but also allowing for individual modification, “idiolects” of web construction, one might say?

Thus there would be transformational rules for turning statements into equivalent questions, active sentences (The police arrested Mary) into equivalent passives (Mary was arrested by the police), dative sentences (She gave the book to Bill) into double-object sentences (She gave Bill the book), and two sentences with a common member (The driver was Mary’s brother and The driver met you) into a single sentence with a relative clause (The driver who met you was Mary’s brother). The most controversial of the innovations that the new grammar required was the notion of movement.

Consequently, in our original sentence, her will fi rst merge with dog, then watched with her dog, then the with girl, and fi nally the girl with watched her dog. The processes just described may not always continue uninterrupted until the entire sentence has been constructed. ” This article is so technical that an explanatory gloss on it, longer than the article itself, had to be written (Uriagereka 1999). Accordingly make the (extremely oversimplified) assumption that a phase is roughly equivalent to a clause.

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