Jain & neuroscience

Andrea Mates andreamates at gmail.com
Wed Apr 25 17:33:07 UTC 2007


> "Dan Everett's hypothesis that "recursion is a fact about brains and not
> about language" would astound students of Neural Sciences. The location of
> the language is inside the human brain in a very important sense (I-language
> of Chomsky)."

You may take the following for whatever grain of salt seems appropriate
since I'm not entirely clear on "recursion" or "I-language"; however, I am a
student of neuroscience.

The neuroscience community does not support LAD or an innatist position on
language. By neuroscience, I do not mean psychologists using ERPs as a
measurment device. Joaquin Fuster who works with single cell studies of
working memory cells and Marco Iacoboni a brain mapper who has worked on the
mirron neuron system both find claims of a LAD or innate language untenable.
They report that they know no colleagues who believe otherwise.

Of course, language use is an embrained activity but one that depends on
domain general mechanisms. Insofar as this is recursive we can say there is
general recursivity in the brain. But since it appears that recusivity is
not an agreed upon term, who knows what is where.


Andrea W. Mates
Neurobiology of Language Research Group
Department of Applied Linguistics & TESL
University of California, Los Angeles

Please pardon the multiple email addresses, they all forward to the same

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