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Is the Language Faculty Non Linguistic?

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889199143 Year: Pages: 123 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-914-3 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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A line of research in cognitive science over several decades has been dedicated to finding an innate, language-specific cognitive system, a faculty which allows human infants to acquire languages natively without formal instruction and within short periods of time. In recent years, this search has attracted significant controversy in cognitive science generally, and in the language sciences specifically. Some maintain that the search has had meaningful results, though there are different views as to what the findings are: ranging from the view that there is a rich and rather specific set of principles, to the idea that the contents of the language faculty are - while specifiable - in fact extremely minimal. But other researchers rigorously oppose the continuation of this search, arguing that decades of effort have turned up nothing. The fact remains that the proposal of a language-specific faculty was made for a good reason, namely as an attempt to solve the vexing puzzle of language in our species. Much work has been developing to address this, and specifically, to look for ways to characterize the language faculty as an emergent phenomenon; i.e., not as a dedicated, language-specific system, but as the emergent outcome of a set of uniquely human but not specifically linguistic factors, in combination. A number of theoretical and empirical approaches are being developed in order to account for the great puzzles of language - language processing, language usage, language acquisition, the nature of grammar, and language change and diversification. This research topic aims at reviewing and exploring these recent developments and establishing bridges between these young frameworks, as well as with the traditions that have come before. The goal of this Research Topic is to focus on current developments in what many regard as a paradigm shift in the language sciences. In this Research Topic, we want to ask: If current explicit proposals for an innate, dedicated faculty for language are not supported by data or arguments, how can we solve the problems that UG was proposed to solve? Is it possible to solve the puzzles of language in our species with an appeal to causes that are not specifically linguistic?

Morphologically complex words in the mind/brain

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198030 Year: Pages: 230 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-803-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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The question of how morphologically complex words (assign-ment, listen-ed) are represented and processed in the brain has been one of the most hotly debated topics in the cognitive neuroscience of language. Do complex words engage cortical representations and processes equivalent to single lexical objects or are they processed as sequences of separate morpheme-like units? Research on morphological processing has suggested that adults make efficient use of both lexical (i.e., whole word) storage and retrieval, as well as combinatorial computation in processing morphologically complex words. Psycholinguistic studies have demonstrated that processing of complex words can be affected both by properties of the morphemes and the whole words, such as their frequency, transparency, and regularity. Furthermore, this research has been informative about the time-course of complex word recognition and production, and the role of morphological structure in these processes. At the neural level, left-hemisphere inferior frontal and superior temporal areas, and negative-going event-related potentials, have been consistently associated with morphological processing. While most previous research has been done on the recognition of morphologically complex words in adult native speakers, much less is known about neurocognitive processes involved in the on-line production of morphologically complex words, and even less on morphological processing in children and non-native speakers. Moreover, we have limited understanding of how linguistically distinct morphological processes, e.g. inflectional (listen-ed) versus derivational (assign-ment), are handled by the cortical language networks. This e-book gives an up-to-date overview of the questions currently addressed in the field of morphological processing. It highlights the significance of morphological information in language processing, both written and spoken, as assessed by a variety of methods and approaches. It also points to a number of unresolved issues, and provides future directions for research in this key area of cognitive neuroscience of language.

Keywords

morphology --- derivation --- inflection --- Compound --- L2 --- Dyslexia --- ERP --- MEG --- semantics --- decomposition

The Grammar of Multilingualism

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450121 Year: Pages: 195 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-012-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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This volume investigates the nature of grammatical representations in speakers who master multiple languages. Since the early days of modern formal approaches to grammar, most work has been based on the language of monolingual humans. Less work has been conducted based on data from speakers who possess more than one language. Although important insights have been gained from a monolingual focus, there is every reason to believe that bi- and multilingual data can inform linguistic theory. A lot of ongoing work demonstrates that this is indeed the case, and the current volume contributes to this growing literature. Thus, the research topic addresses a number of questions relating to grammatical structures in multilingual speakers as well as the methodological issues that arise in the context of studying such speakers. A better understanding of the grammatical sides of multilingualism is crucial for understanding the human language capacity and in turn for offering better advice to the public concerning issues of language choice for multilingual children and adults, education, and language deficits in multilingual individuals.

Beyond the body? The Future of Embodied Cognition

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197972 Year: Pages: 147 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-797-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Embodied cognition represents one of most important research programs in contemporary cognitive science. Although there is a diversity of opinion concerning the nature of embodiment, the core idea is that cognitive processes are influenced by body morphology, emotions, and sensorimotor systems. This idea is supported by an ever increasing collection of empirical studies that fall into two broad classes: one consisting of experiments that implicate action, emotion, and perception systems in seemingly abstract cognitive tasks and the other consisting of experiments that demonstrate the contribution of bodily interaction with the external environment to the performance of such tasks. Now that the research program of embodied cognition is well established, the time seems right for assessing its further promise and potential limitations. This research topic aims to create an interdisciplinary forum for discussing where we go from here. Given that we have good reason to think that the body influences cognition in surprisingly robust ways, the central question is no longer whether or not any cognitive processes are embodied. Instead, other questions have come to the fore: To what extent are cognitive processes in general embodied? Are there disembodied processes? Among those that are embodied, how are they embodied? Is there more than one kind of embodiment? Is embodiment a matter of degree? There are a number of specific issues that could be addressed by submissions to this research topic. Some supporters of embodied cognition eschew representations. Should anti-representationalism be a core part of an embodied approach? What role should dynamical models play? Research in embodied cognition has tended to focus on the importance of sensorimotor areas for cognition. What are the functions of multimodal or amodal brain areas? Abstract concepts have proved to be a challenge for embodied cognition. How should they be handled? Should researchers allow for some form of weak embodiment? Currently, there is a split between those who offer a simulation-based approach to embodiment and those who offer an enactive approach. Who is right? Should there be a rapprochement between these two groups? Some experimental and robotics researchers have recently shown a great deal of interest in the idea that external resources such as language can serve as form of cognitive scaffolding. What are the implications of this idea for embodied cognition? This research topic aims to bring together empirical and theoretical work from a diversity of perspectives. Submissions are sought from any of the major disciplines associated with cognitive science, including but not necessarily limited to anthropology, cognitive psychology, computational modeling, linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, robotics, and social psychology. Researchers are encouraged to submit papers discussing experiments, methods, models, or theories that speak to the issue of the future of embodied cognition.

Accessing Conceptual Representations for Speaking

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889450114 Year: Pages: 141 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-011-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-02-27 16:16:44
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For speaking, words in the lexicon are somehow activated from conceptual representations but we know surprisingly little about how this works precisely. Which of the attributes of the concept DOG (e.g. BARKS, IS WALKED WITH A LEASH, CARNIVORE, ANIMATE) have to be activated in a given situation to be able to select the word ‘dog’? Are there things we know about dogs that are always activated for naming and others that are only activated in certain contexts or even never? To date, investigations on lexical access in speaking have largely focused on the effects of distractor nouns on the naming latency of a target noun. We have learned that distractors from the same semantic category (e.g. ‘cat’) hinder naming, but associatively related distractors (‘leash’) may facilitate or hinder naming. However, associatively related words can have all kinds of semantic relationships to a target word, and, with few exceptions, the effects of specific semantic relationships other than membership in the same category as the target concept have not been systematically investigated. This special issue aims at moving forward towards a more detailed account of how precisely conceptual information is used to access the lexicon in speaking and what corresponding format of conceptual representations needs to be assumed.

Linguistic Influences on Mathematical Cognition

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889452002 Year: Pages: 173 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-200-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-10-13 14:57:01
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For many years, an abstract, amodal semantic magnitude representation, largely independent of verbal linguistic representations, has been viewed as the core numerical or mathematical representation This assumption has been substantially challenged in recent years. Linguistic properties affect not only verbal representations of numbers, but also numerical magnitude representation, spatial magnitude representations, calculation, parity representation, place-value representation and even early number acquisition. Thus, we postulate that numerical and arithmetic processing are not fully independent of linguistic processing. This is not to say, that in patients, magnitude processing cannot function independently of linguistic processing we just suppose, these functions are connected in the functioning brain. So far, much research about linguistic influences on numerical cognition has simply demonstrated that language influences number without investigating the level at which a particular language influence operates. After an overview, we present new findings on language influences on seven language levels: - Conceptual: Conceptual properties of language- Syntactic: The grammatical structure of languages beyond the word level influences- Semantic: The semantic meaning or existence of words- Lexical: The lexical composition of words, in particular number words- Visuo-spatial-orthographic: Orthographic properties, such as the writing/reading direction of a language- Phonological: Phonological/phonetic properties of languages- Other language-related skills: Verbal working memory and other cognitive skills related to language representationsWe hope that this book provides a new and structured overview on the exciting influences of linguistic processing on numerical cognition at almost all levels of language processing.

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