Chapter

Revisiting Modularity: Using Language as a Window to the Mind<sup>*</sup>

Susan Curtiss

in Rich Languages From Poor Inputs

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199590339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745041 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590339.003.0005
Revisiting Modularity: Using Language as a Window to the Mind*

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This chapter examines the question of the modularity of mind, both the so-called ‘big modularity’ and ‘little modularity’. It brings to bear evidence from a wide array of sources — evidence from studies on the neurology of language, the genetics of language, from cases of atypical development, cases of genetic anomalies, language breakdown, from cognitive dissolution, and from a variety of cognitive domains in addition to language. It concludes that language, and in particular grammar, is a mental faculty that rests on structural organizing principles and constraints not shared in large part by other mental faculties and that, in its processing and computation, grammar is automatic and mandatory. Data from domains outside of language further support the fundamental notion of a modular mind.

Keywords: modular mind; language; grammar; mental faculties

Chapter.  10591 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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