A long and detailed article at Scientific American includes this:
In the new usage-based approach (which includes ideas from functional linguistics, cognitive linguistics and construction grammar), children are not born with a universal, dedicated tool for learning grammar. Instead they inherit the mental equivalent of a Swiss Army knife: a set of general-purpose tools—such as categorization, the reading of communicative intentions, and analogy making, with which children build grammatical categories and rules from the language they hear around them.
Ah, I knew it would come back to analogy some time.
Plato's Theaetetus, please call your office.
Of course if rational discourse is "ratio-nal" it must be analogical. How else can you explain the verbing of nouns (all the Greats do it!). And how else could children understand the nonsense of If I Ran the Circus? -- I mean, "The Flummox will carry a Lurch in a pail / And a Fibbel will carry the Flummox's tail"? The soul of man is deeply analogical, and I don't think it's a genetic mutation either.
Plus I never liked Chomsky: I got the impression he was singularly invested in reducing the human mind to strictly binary operations.
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