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Impossible Languages$
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Andrea Moro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034890

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034890.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

The Boundaries of Babel

The Boundaries of Babel

(p.45) 5 The Boundaries of Babel
Impossible Languages

Andrea Moro

The MIT Press

One of the major discoveries of modern linguistics is that languages do not vary arbitrarily: for example, all syntactic rules must be based on hierarchical structure generated by recursive procedure rather than linear order. Neuroimaging techniques have shown that these formal restrictions constituting the boundaries of Babel are in fact represented in the brain for people who learn non-recursive artificially designed rules do not involve those neural circuits that underpin language computation. The boundaries of Babels cannot be cultural and arbitrary.

Keywords:   Arbitrariness, Biolinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Neuroimaging, Recursion, Impossible rules, Linearity

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