An Evolutionary Perspective on the Architecture

Ray Jackendoff

in Foundations of Language

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780198270126
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191713255 | DOI:
 An Evolutionary Perspective on the Architecture

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One of the issues raised by the nativist claim is that the capacity to learn language must have emerged at some point in the evolution of the human species. However, it is difficult to see how a capacity of the complexity usually assumed by linguists could have evolved through natural selection. It turns out that the parallel model offers more attractive possibilities for an incremental evolution of the language capacity. This chapter discusses some possible stages in this evolution, showing how they are reflected in the organization of present day language. A glaring gap in most approaches to generative grammar has been the absence of a theory of semantics of any sophistication.

Keywords: symbols; semantic relations; phrase structure; relational concepts; syntax; morphology; grammatical functions; Universal Grammar

Chapter.  14674 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psycholinguistics

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