Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Biolinguistics is a fairly broad research program that allow for the exploration of many avenues of research, including the formalist, functionalist, and nativist, and it insists on the uniqueness of the language faculty or alternatively, nativist about general (human) cognition, but not about language per se. It is assumed that the language faculty arose in Homo sapiens, and fairly recently, that is, within the last 200,000 years. The recent emergence of the language faculty is most compatible with the idea that at most one or two evolutionary innovations, combined with the cognitive resources available before the emergence of language, delivers the linguistic capacity much as it is known today. Biolinguists, especially those of a minimalist persuasion, have explored the possibility that some of the properties of language faculty may have emerged spontaneously, by the sheer force of biophysics. The type of principles by which minimalists seek to reanalyze the data captured by previous models are, quite plausibly, reflexes of computational laws that go well beyond the linguistic domain. All the linguistic models, no matter how minimalist, rely on the existence of lexical items. Numerous comparative studies in psychology reveal that mature linguistic creatures transcend many cognitive limits seen in animals and prelinguistic infants. Such limits are the signature limits of core knowledge systems, which correspond to primitive knowledge modules. Such systems suffer from informational encapsulation and quickly reach combinatorial limits.

Keywords: biolinguistics, psychology, language faculty, linguistic models, human cognition

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.