So, why do all languages appear to have nouns? The nativist would tell us that “nouns” are part of our genetic endowment, innate. A functional approach suggests an alternative explanation not grounded in genetics, but the social world. So, the reason all observed languages have nouns is likely because humans have seen the need to use language to reference things in the world. In order to talk about or refer to things, we would need to have named persons, places, things, and ideas in the world. Thus, the “universal” that all languages have nouns, likely arises from the need to refer to things in the world.