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A biological infrastructure for communication underlies the cultural evolution of languages

  • J. P. de Ruiter (a1) and Stephen C. Levinson (a1)

Abstract

Universal Grammar (UG) is indeed evolutionarily implausible. But if languages are just “adapted” to a large primate brain, it is hard to see why other primates do not have complex languages. The answer is that humans have evolved a specialized and uniquely human cognitive architecture, whose main function is to compute mappings between arbitrary signals and communicative intentions. This underlies the development of language in the human species.

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • ISSN: 0140-525X
  • EISSN: 1469-1825
  • URL: /core/journals/behavioral-and-brain-sciences
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