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Rich Languages From Poor Inputs$
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Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini and Robert C. Berwick

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199590339

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199590339.001.0001

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Revisiting Modularity: Using Language as a Window to the Mind *

Revisiting Modularity: Using Language as a Window to the Mind *

(p.68) 5 Revisiting Modularity: Using Language as a Window to the Mind*
Rich Languages From Poor Inputs

Susan Curtiss

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the question of the modularity of mind, both the so-called ‘big modularity’ and ‘little modularity’. It brings to bear evidence from a wide array of sources — evidence from studies on the neurology of language, the genetics of language, from cases of atypical development, cases of genetic anomalies, language breakdown, from cognitive dissolution, and from a variety of cognitive domains in addition to language. It concludes that language, and in particular grammar, is a mental faculty that rests on structural organizing principles and constraints not shared in large part by other mental faculties and that, in its processing and computation, grammar is automatic and mandatory. Data from domains outside of language further support the fundamental notion of a modular mind.

Keywords:   modular mind, language, grammar, mental faculties

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