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universalism


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1. (cognitive universalism) The structuralist notion, found in Lévi-Strauss and analogous to Chomsky's notion of transformational grammar, that all human beings unconsciously impose structure on the world through the same fundamental mental categories: see also binary opposition; deep structure; transformation.

2. (linguistic universalism) The view that, while languages vary in their surface structure, every language is based on the same underlying universal structure or laws (see also universal grammar). In contrast to linguistic relativists, universalists argue that we can say whatever we want to say in any language, and that whatever we say in one language can always be translated into another: see also translatability.

Subjects: Media Studies.


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