Biology of language: Principle predictions and evidence

Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (4):643-645 (1996)
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Müller's target article aims to summarize approaches to the question of how language elements (phonemes, morphemes, etc.) and rules are laid down in the brain. However, it suffers from being too vague about basic assumptions and empirical predictions of neurobiological models, and the empirical evidence available to test the models is not appropriately evaluated. (1) In a neuroscientific model of language, different cortical localizations of words can only be based on biological principles. These need to be made explicit. (2) Evidence for and against word class differences could be evaluated more rigorously. (3) All (and only) humans are able to learn languages with complex syntactic structures; it is, therefore, not appropriate to deny innateness and universality of syntactic principles. The real question appears to be the following: Which neurobiological principles are the linguistic principles based on?



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Vision.David Marr - 1982 - W. H. Freeman.
Aspects of the Theory of Syntax.Noam Chomsky - 1965 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
Metaphors we live by.George Lakoff & Mark Johnson - 1980 - Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Edited by Mark Johnson.

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