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2.4. Universal Grammar theory

In his Universal Grammar theory, Noam Chomsky proposes that the ability to learn a language is hard-wired in the brain. This theory is heavily debated among evolutionists. But deniers of this theory have no alternative explanation – let alone an artificial implementation – that is supported by experimental evidence.

In my Controlled Natural Language (CNL) reasoner, one set of logical rules is configured for multiple languages. So, it implements the Universal Grammar theory with a difference: There is no Universal Grammar, but there are Universal Rules of Logic embedded in Grammar. Or as I would say: There are Natural Laws of Intelligence embedded in Grammar.

Logic / algebra itself is language independent. And universal rules of logic seem hard-wired in the language center of our brain. When children learn a language, the grammar of this universal logic is ‘configured’ for a language, which will be their native language / mother tongue.

My CNL reasoner works in a similar way: By embedding one set of logic / algebra / universal reasoning rules, my reasoner is (almost) language independent. During start-up, the software reads five grammar configuration files, which configure this universal logic for five languages. After start-up, my reasoner is able to read, to reason and to autonomously write – word-by-word constructed sentences – in English, Spanish, French, Dutch and Chinese.

Semantic techniques require each word to be defined in a words list. But we don’t feed a words list to babies and toddlers either, in order to learn their mother tongue. My CNL reasoner has no extensive words list either. The difference between semantic techniques and the universal logic techniques of CNL reasoners is illustrated by a well-known Chinese saying: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. My CNL reasoner only has a few basic words defined upfront. Instead, it has grammar definitions 8, and an algorithm 9 that determines the word type of each unknown word, like adjective, singular noun and plural noun.


8 See download, sub-directory: data/grammar/
9 See source code: class AdminReadCreateWords, function createReadWords