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By Cedric Boeckx, Maria del Carmen Horno-Cheliz, Jose-Luis Mendivil-Giro

The current quantity deals a suite of essays overlaying a large variety of parts the place at present a rapprochement among linguistics and biology is actively being sought. Following a undeniable culture, we name this test at a synthesis biolinguistics. The 9 chapters (grouped into 3 components: Language and Cognition, Language and the mind, and Language and the Species) provide a finished evaluation of concerns on the leading edge of biolinguistic learn, comparable to language constitution; language improvement; linguistic swap and edition; language issues and language processing; the cognitive, neural and genetic foundation of linguistic wisdom; or the evolution of the college of Language. every one contribution highlights interesting customers for the sphere, yet in addition they element to major hindrances alongside the way in which. the most end is that the age of theoretical exclusivity in Linguistics, very similar to the age of theoretical specificity, should finish if interdisciplinarity is to reign and if biolinguistics is to flourish.

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Modifying a well-known statement by Edward Sapir, one could say that syntax never leaks, but morpho-phonology always does. 24 Bromberger and Halle (1989) are right: phonology is different. In this respect, morpho-phonology is much closer in nature to the kind of systems studied by evolutionary biologists, often described as the domain of the “higgledy-piggledy”. This may well explain the success of a pluralist, weakly/minimally nativist, history-heavy approach to phonology of the sort explored by Blevins (2004) (for a much-improved technical articulation, see also Samuels (2009b, 2011, this volume).

As an illustration of the contrast between narrow syntax and morphophonlogy, consider how the two systems relate to one another (the “PFinterface”), and contrast it with the way syntax relates to thought systems 21 I would not be surprised if in the next few years, as we learn more about vocal learning in songbirds and other species, this will come to be seen as a textbook case of deep homology. 22 For illuminating discussion of the role of “culture” in the context of Iphonology, see Samuels (To appear).

On the so-called PF-side of the grammar, few are under the illusion that syntax and phonology are the same (cf. Bromberger and Halle 1989). That is to say, whereas syntax is fairly naturally construable as a program for meaning, it is more like data on the externalization side. ) Given the richness of the life sciences (“biology”), it is not at all clear that all these layers of structure ought to receive the same explanation. It is perhaps useful to recall that behind the term biolinguistics there is an intended symmetry between two disciplines (linguistics and biology).

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