Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Cogn Sci
Impact Factor: 3.175

Language evolution as cultural evolution: how language is shaped by the brain

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

Abstract This paper reviews arguments against the evolutionary plausibility of a traditional genetically specified universal grammar. We argue that no such universal grammar could have evolved, either by a process of natural selection or by other evolutionary mechanisms. Instead, we propose that the close fit between languages and language learners, which make language acquisition possible, arises not because humans possess a specialized biological adaptation for language, but because language has been shaped to fit the brain, a process of cultural evolution. On this account, many aspects of the structure of human languages may be explained as cultural adaptations to the human brain. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This article is categorized under: Cognitive Biology > Evolutionary Roots of Cognition Linguistics > Evolution of Language Psychology > Language

Browse by Topic

Psychology > Language

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts