A Prospect for Evolutionary Adequacy: Merge and the Evolution and Development of Human Language

Koji Fujita

Abstract


Biolinguistic minimalism seeks a deeper explanation of the design, development and evolution of human language by reducing its core domain to the bare minimum including the set-formation operation Merge. In an attempt to open an avenue of research that may lead to an evolutionarily adequate theory of language, this article makes the following proposals: (i) Merge is the elementary combinatorial device that requires no more decomposition; (ii) the precursor to Merge may be found in the uniquely human capacity for hierarchical object manipulation; (iii) the uniqueness of the human lexicon may also be captured in terms of Merge. Empirical validations of these proposals should constitute one major topic for the biolinguistic program.

Keywords


action grammar; anti-lexicalism; evolutionary adequacy; FLN/ FLB; unbounded Merge

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