The Emergence of Hierarchical Structure in Human Language

  title={The Emergence of Hierarchical Structure in Human Language},
  author={Shigeru Miyagawa and Robert C. Berwick and Kazuo Okanoya},
  journal={Frontiers in Psychology},
We propose a novel account for the emergence of human language syntax. Like many evolutionary innovations, language arose from the adventitious combination of two pre-existing, simpler systems that had been evolved for other functional tasks. The first system, Type E(xpression), is found in birdsong, where the same song marks territory, mating availability, and similar “expressive” functions. The second system, Type L(exical), has been suggestively found in non-human primate calls and in… 

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