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  1. Investigating Constituent Order Change With Elicited Pantomime: A Functional Account of SVO Emergence.Matthew L. Hall, Victor S. Ferreira & Rachel I. Mayberry - 2014 - Cognitive Science 38 (5):943-972.
    One of the most basic functions of human language is to convey who did what to whom. In the world's languages, the order of these three constituents (subject [S], verb [V], and object [O]) is uneven, with SOV and SVO being most common. Recent experiments using experimentally elicited pantomime provide a possible explanation of the prevalence of SOV, but extant explanations for the prevalence of SVO could benefit from further empirical support. Here, we test whether SVO might emerge because (a) (...)
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  • With Diversity in Mind: Freeing the Language Sciences From Universal Grammar.Nicholas Evans & Stephen C. Levinson - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5):472-492.
    Our response takes advantage of the wide-ranging commentary to clarify some aspects of our original proposal and augment others. We argue against the generative critics of our coevolutionary program for the language sciences, defend the use of close-to-surface models as minimizing cross-linguistic data distortion, and stress the growing role of stochastic simulations in making generalized historical accounts testable. These methods lead the search for general principles away from idealized representations and towards selective processes. Putting cultural evolution central in understanding language (...)
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  • The Myth of Language Universals: Language Diversity and its Importance for Cognitive Science.Nicholas Evans & Stephen C. Levinson - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5):429-448.
    Talk of linguistic universals has given cognitive scientists the impression that languages are all built to a common pattern. In fact, there are vanishingly few universals of language in the direct sense that all languages exhibit them. Instead, diversity can be found at almost every level of linguistic organization. This fundamentally changes the object of enquiry from a cognitive science perspective. This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and descriptive linguists, showing just how few and unprofound the (...)
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  • Brains, Genes, and Language Evolution: A New Synthesis.Morten H. Christiansen & Nick Chater - 2008 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 31 (5):537-558.
    Our target article argued that a genetically specified Universal Grammar (UG), capturing arbitrary properties of languages, is not tenable on evolutionary grounds, and that the close fit between language and language learners arises because language is shaped by the brain, rather than the reverse. Few commentaries defend a genetically specified UG. Some commentators argue that we underestimate the importance of processes of cultural transmission; some propose additional cognitive and brain mechanisms that may constrain language and perhaps differentiate humans from nonhuman (...)
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  • Commentary/Evans & Levinson: The Myth of Language Universals.Derek C. Penn, Keith J. Holyoak & Daniel J. Povinellia - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (5).
  • Can a Bird Brain Do Phonology?Bridget D. Samuels - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  • Precursors to Language.Michael Corballis - 2018 - Topoi 37 (2):297-305.
    One view of language is that it emerged in a single step in Homo sapiens, and depended on a radical transformation of human thought, involving symbolic representations and computational rules for combining them. I argue instead that language should be viewed as a communication system for the sharing of thoughts, and that thought processes themselves evolved well before the capacity to share them. One property often considered unique to language is generativity—the capacity to generate a potentially infinite variety of sentences. (...)
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  • The Body as Evidence for the Nature of Language.Wendy Sandler - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • A New Perspective on Word Order Preferences: The Availability of a Lexicon Triggers the Use of SVO Word Order.Hanna Marno, Alan Langus, Mahmoud Omidbeigi, Sina Asaadi, Shima Seyed-Allaei & Marina Nespor - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  • Constructing Complexity in a Young Sign Language.Svetlana Dachkovsky, Rose Stamp & Wendy Sandler - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
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  • Cognitive Constraints on Constituent Order: Evidence From Elicited Pantomime.Matthew L. Hall, Rachel I. Mayberry & Victor S. Ferreira - 2013 - Cognition 129 (1):1-17.
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