Beyond Recursion: Critique of Hauser, Chomsky, and Fitch
Keywords:recursion, inflectional morphology, synthetic languages.
In 2002, Hauser, Chomsky, and Fitch published an article in which they introduced a distinction between properties of language that are exclusively part of human communication (i.e., the FLN) and those properties that might be shared with other species (i.e., the FLB). The sole property proposed for the FLN was recursion. Hauser et al. provided evidence for their position based on issues of evolution. The question of the required properties of human language is central to developing theories of language processing and acquisition. In the present critique of Hauser et al. we consider two examples from non-English languages that argue against the suggestion that recursion is the sole property within the human language faculty. These are i) agreement of inflectional morphemes across sentence constructions, and ii) synthetic one-word constructions.
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