Lecture 6

Which ones and how diddo they come to be used for

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Unformatted text preview: ng to look in more detail at how grammar contributes to meaning   Then we’ll step back and talk about grammar and the mind Where we are   Then we’ll step back and talk about grammar and the mind   How it evolved   How it’s organized Grammar and the evolved mind   What allows us (and not other species) to learn and use language with flexible and complex grammar?   What cognitive mechanisms do we use?   Are these innate/evolved for language?   Or are they general ­purpose cognitive mechanisms, that respond to linguistic input Dimensions of possible answers       There has to be some biological change that allows us and not other animals, to learn and use language That is, something about out genetic inheritance is different from that of other animals Relevant changes could be language ­specific or domain general   If language ­specific, they could be adaptive or random   If domain ­general, they must be used for other things. Which ones, and how did/do they come to be used for language? Dimensions of possible answers   We don’t know exactly when human language started   Estimates range from 50,000 years ago (behavioral modernity) to 2,000,000 years ago (homo erectus)   There’s plenty of time from emergence of homo habilis (about 2,400,000 years ago) to hypothetical onset of language for biological adaptations to take effect   So this doesn’t help Language ­specificity?   Localization of brain function   Pro ▪  More in left than right hemisphere ▪  Some “language areas”, like Broca’s and Wernicke’s   Con ▪  But language uses pretty much the whole brain ▪  And Broca’s and Wernicke’s are used for things other than language ▪  And finally, localization wouldn’t imply innate, language ­specific knowledge, only consistent global brain organization Language ­sp...
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2014 for the course COGS 101c taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at UCSD.

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