Generative Grammar and the Neurobiological Correlates of the Human Language Faculty: Some Open Questions and Challenges

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Barbara Sadownik


The article investigates whether the generative grammar paradigm as well as the using of Neuroimaging in the empirical investigations of language acquisition, perception etc., may enable a better identification of the neurobiological correlates of the human language faculty. The author starts with a survey of the development of generative grammar focusing on its central thesis of the autonomy of syntax. It is pointed out that, for methodological reasons, generative linguistics developed from the study of language structure to the proposition of the modularity of language and mind. Subsequently, multi-faceted research efforts are presented aiming at empirical verification of the modularity hypothesis by means of Brain Imaging, all of which have demonstrated that is possible only to a very limited degree. The modular architecture of the human language faculty and its neurobiological foundations remain the challenge of biolinguistics and the related fields.


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Linguistics, glottodidactics