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date: 12 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Biolinguistics promotes an effective, biologically grounded approach to language. Sign language studies have greatly contributed to our current understanding of the biological nature of the human faculty for language. However, a more central position of sign language studies within this fresh biolinguistic agenda is desirable. In truth, only sign language studies can provide biolinguistics with some of the needed evidence for properly testing and constraining its more promising hypotheses. Conversely, biolinguistics can help sign language studies to gain a deeper understanding of the real nature and the ontogenesis of sign languages and sign language disorders. To support these claims, this chapter discusses how sign language studies can contribute to refining two different, although related, biolinguistic models of the language faculty and of language evolution in the species.

Keywords: biolinguistics, computation, externalization, Evo-Devo, language evolution, language modalities, sign languages, spoken languages

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