I was speaking with a professional linguist the other day (PhD Harvard, which apparently isn't big in the linguistics community), and asked if there are such things as 'grammatical universals'. The Hard-Chomskian answer is, yes, our brains are fundamentally programmed to utilize a certain grammatical structure, for example conceiving things in object and action (or noun and verb) terms. The Soft-Chomskian answer is, sort of, all languages just happened to develop this way as a means of responding to certain challenges in their environment. My point of departure for this discussion is: Can languages be thought of as an engineering solution to a concrete physical problem of communicating information about the environment, in the same way one would consider the streamlined shape of aquatic animals, or the hierarchical network of pulmonary systems? Then, would grammar be a kind of 'contingent' outcome of the process of adaptation? OR, is there a logical necessity to having the form of language we currently have? In that sense, would all communicating life in the universe have grammatical universals, like objects, actions, etc? This isn't likely to be a question decidable in the general discussion section of a physics forum, but if others have had similar lines of thought on the structure of language (or interesting sources to look into) I'd be glad to hear them. One thing obvious is this: all differences between human languages are historically contingent outcomes and, as such, not necessary or intrinsic to their functioning as language systems.