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The Role of Sequencing Biases in the Evolution of Syntax

Amy Lebkeucher, Natalie Schwob and Dan Weis will present a talk.


Understanding language evolution has been cast as the “hardest problem in science”(Christiansen & Kirby, 2003). In part, this is due to differences between language production and on human primate vocal production. Only language seems to convey meaning through the hierarchical structuring of elements. Thus, a longstanding question concerns the evolutionary origin of language sequencing, such as syntax, as nonhuman primate vocal repertoires are largely fixed. In this talk, we present research from our lab and others that investigates motor planning abilities across several primate species, including humans, in effort to explore whether this domain holds promise for understanding the origins of ordering biases found in language production. We also present recent work exploring whether common sequencing biases are found in adult humans that span motor and language tasks.

Friday, September 13 at 9:00am to 10:30am

Moore Building, 127

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