The evolution of syntactic communication

@article{Nowak2000TheEO,
  title={The evolution of syntactic communication},
  author={Martin A. Nowak and Joshua B. Plotkin and Vincent A. A. Jansen},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2000},
  volume={404},
  pages={495-498}
}
Animal communication is typically non-syntactic, which means that signals refer to whole situations. Human language is syntactic, and signals consist of discrete components that have their own meaning. Syntax is a prerequisite for taking advantage of combinatorics, that is, “making infinite use of finite means”. The vast expressive power of human language would be impossible without syntax, and the transition from non-syntactic to syntactic communication was an essential step in the evolution… 
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