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Why Only UsLanguage and Evolution$
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Robert C. Berwick and Noam Chomsky

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034241

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034241.001.0001

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Language Architecture and Its Import for Evolution

Language Architecture and Its Import for Evolution

(p.89) 3 Language Architecture and Its Import for Evolution
Why Only Us

Robert C. Berwick

Noam Chomsky

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses language architecture and its significance for evolution. It first considers the problem of the evolution of language, along with the Basic Property of human language, the theory of an internal or I-language, and Universal Grammar (UG). It then explores the Strong Minimalist Thesis (SMT) and the prehistory of the contemporary study of the evolution of language before turning to the view that language is fundamentally a system of thought and that the mental operations involving language should be independent of order, which is a reflex of the sensorimotor system. It also examines the notion that the basic principles of language are extremely simple, perhaps even optimal for computational systems, and that language is well designed for computational efficiency and expression of thought, but poses problems for use, particularly for communication.

Keywords:   language architecture, evolution, human language, I-language, Universal Grammar, Strong Minimalist Thesis, sensorimotor system, computational efficiency, thought, communication

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