An excellent article. If HBO takes your request seriously, let us all know. And they should...
Very interesting.One thing surprised me: You didn't state it but you seem to imply that a universal property is either accidental or due to our inability to learn a language that doesn't have it. Why can't there be a universal such that we can learn a language that doesn't have it, but we will never "evolve" such a language?
levbor: Fair enough. There could also be languages that we would simply never evolve naturally, though they are learnable. For instance, we could probably learn a language in which dogs say "oink oink" and pigs say "bow bow," but it's unlikely any such will exist. There also don't appear to be any languages languages in in which which every every word word is is repeated repeated. Probably because it would just be boring.
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