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Inquiries about the Evolution of Merge

EasyChair Preprint no. 2123, version 2

Versions: 12history
28 pagesDate: January 4, 2020


We discuss the Merge concept of the generative paradigm in context of the evolving language capacity in the human lineage. Merge is shared to some extent across cognitive domains and might have evolved for purposes other than language. Not only limitations, but also fruitful extensions of the generative Merge concept are discussed. A framework will be introduced, the RC Model, which emphasizes an integrative approach towards the phylogenesis of the Modern Language Capacity by considering linguistic or neurobiological evidence or fossil evidence. We show that external syntactic Merge meets the criterion of evolvability and may result from different precursor stages of the modern language capacity. We conclude that syntactic Merge as found in modern languages is a byproduct of sociocultural accumulations while phonological and semantic-conceptual properties may point to our genetic disposition for language presumably shared with H. erectus.

Keyphrases: Broca’s area, H. erectus, language evolution, Merge, syntax

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Dieter Hillert},
  title = {Inquiries about the Evolution of Merge},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 2123},

  year = {EasyChair, 2020}}
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