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Evolutionary roads to syntax

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Evolutionary roads to syntax. / Zuberbuhler, Klaus.

In: Animal Behaviour, Vol. 151, 05.2019, p. 259-265.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvard

Zuberbuhler, K 2019, 'Evolutionary roads to syntax' Animal Behaviour, vol. 151, pp. 259-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.03.006

APA

Zuberbuhler, K. (2019). Evolutionary roads to syntax. Animal Behaviour, 151, 259-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.03.006

Vancouver

Zuberbuhler K. Evolutionary roads to syntax. Animal Behaviour. 2019 May;151:259-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.03.006

Author

Zuberbuhler, Klaus. / Evolutionary roads to syntax. In: Animal Behaviour. 2019 ; Vol. 151. pp. 259-265.

Bibtex - Download

@article{b4a90fa2467948179c78bc8409051571,
title = "Evolutionary roads to syntax",
abstract = "Syntax is habitually named as what sets human language apart from other communication systems, but how did it evolve? Comparative research on animal behaviour has contributed in important ways, with mainly three sets of data. First, animals have been subjected to artificial grammar tasks, based on the hypothesis that human syntax has evolved through advanced computational capacity. In these experiments humans generally outperform animals, but there are questions about validity, as experimental stimuli are (deliberately) kept devoid of semantic content. Second, animal communication has been compared in terms of the surface structures with the aim of developing a typology of animal syntax, based on the hypothesis that syntax is an evolutionary solution to the constraints of small signal repertoires. A wide range of combinatorial phenomena has been described, mainly in nonhuman primates, but there is little support for the hypothesis that syntax has emerged due to repertoire size constraints. A third way of studying the evolution of syntax is to compare how animals perceive and communicate about external events, the mental deep structure of syntax. Human syntax is closely aligned with how we perceive events in terms of agency, action and patience, each with subsidiary functions. The event perception hypothesis has been least explored in animals and requires a serious research programme.",
keywords = "Argument structure, Combinatoriality, Communication, Compositionality, Computational capacity, Event perception, Grammar, Language, Meaning, Repertoire constraints",
author = "Klaus Zuberbuhler",
note = "The author is grateful to the Swiss National Science Foundation (Project 31003A_166458) for support.",
year = "2019",
month = "5",
doi = "10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.03.006",
language = "English",
volume = "151",
pages = "259--265",
journal = "Animal Behaviour",
issn = "0003-3472",
publisher = "ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD",

}

RIS (suitable for import to EndNote) - Download

TY - JOUR

T1 - Evolutionary roads to syntax

AU - Zuberbuhler, Klaus

N1 - The author is grateful to the Swiss National Science Foundation (Project 31003A_166458) for support.

PY - 2019/5

Y1 - 2019/5

N2 - Syntax is habitually named as what sets human language apart from other communication systems, but how did it evolve? Comparative research on animal behaviour has contributed in important ways, with mainly three sets of data. First, animals have been subjected to artificial grammar tasks, based on the hypothesis that human syntax has evolved through advanced computational capacity. In these experiments humans generally outperform animals, but there are questions about validity, as experimental stimuli are (deliberately) kept devoid of semantic content. Second, animal communication has been compared in terms of the surface structures with the aim of developing a typology of animal syntax, based on the hypothesis that syntax is an evolutionary solution to the constraints of small signal repertoires. A wide range of combinatorial phenomena has been described, mainly in nonhuman primates, but there is little support for the hypothesis that syntax has emerged due to repertoire size constraints. A third way of studying the evolution of syntax is to compare how animals perceive and communicate about external events, the mental deep structure of syntax. Human syntax is closely aligned with how we perceive events in terms of agency, action and patience, each with subsidiary functions. The event perception hypothesis has been least explored in animals and requires a serious research programme.

AB - Syntax is habitually named as what sets human language apart from other communication systems, but how did it evolve? Comparative research on animal behaviour has contributed in important ways, with mainly three sets of data. First, animals have been subjected to artificial grammar tasks, based on the hypothesis that human syntax has evolved through advanced computational capacity. In these experiments humans generally outperform animals, but there are questions about validity, as experimental stimuli are (deliberately) kept devoid of semantic content. Second, animal communication has been compared in terms of the surface structures with the aim of developing a typology of animal syntax, based on the hypothesis that syntax is an evolutionary solution to the constraints of small signal repertoires. A wide range of combinatorial phenomena has been described, mainly in nonhuman primates, but there is little support for the hypothesis that syntax has emerged due to repertoire size constraints. A third way of studying the evolution of syntax is to compare how animals perceive and communicate about external events, the mental deep structure of syntax. Human syntax is closely aligned with how we perceive events in terms of agency, action and patience, each with subsidiary functions. The event perception hypothesis has been least explored in animals and requires a serious research programme.

KW - Argument structure

KW - Combinatoriality

KW - Communication

KW - Compositionality

KW - Computational capacity

KW - Event perception

KW - Grammar

KW - Language

KW - Meaning

KW - Repertoire constraints

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.03.006

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.03.006

M3 - Article

VL - 151

SP - 259

EP - 265

JO - Animal Behaviour

T2 - Animal Behaviour

JF - Animal Behaviour

SN - 0003-3472

ER -

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ID: 257793989