Rie Asano & Cedric Boeckx

Rie Asano & Cedric Boeckx

Lecture 6 | Leipzig Lectures on Language—Combinatorics 2021

July 14, 2021


Syntax and Descent (With Modification)

Syntax is often seen as the most distinctive aspect of human language, unlike anything seen in other species or other domains of cognition. Here we exploit findings from neurolinguistics to put forward a continuity hypothesis for syntax, consonant with a Darwinian scenario of Descent with Modification. Central to our argument will be the distributed nature of syntactic processing in the brain and recent advances in the area of vocal learning. In the second part of the talk, we will engage with discussions about domain-specific vs. domain-general aspects of combinatorial processes, paying special attention to the relation between language and music processing in the brain.


About the speakers

Rie Asano is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Musicology in Cologne, Germany. Her research focuses on syntax in language, music, and action, as well as the relationship between linguistic syntactic processing and musical rhythm, and computational evolutionary neuroscience. 

Cedric Boeckx is Professor at the Catalan Institute for Research & Advanced Studies, University of Barcelona. His current research focuses on the neurobiological foundations of the human language faculty, with special emphasis on evolutionary issues. 

Keywords: language evolution; emergence of language; speech processing; vocal learning


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