Philosophy Colloquium
Xuan Wang
University of Maryland
Recursion in Human Language

In this talk, I will first argue that the Chomsky, Hauser and Fitch (2002) claim that recursion is unique to human language is misleading because they fail to distinguish recursive procedures (I-recursion) from recursive patterns (E-recursion). I contend that in order to explain the emergence of recursive hierarchical structures in human language, as opposed to animal communication systems (bee dances and bird songs), the underlying recursive generative mechanism should be explained. I will compare two such accounts: an evolutionary account by Miyagawa et al. (2013) and the Minimalist syntax by Hornstein (2007), and argue for the latter.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
3:30pm

Skinner 1115