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William H. Calvin and Derek Bickerton, Lingua ex Machina: Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the human brain (MIT Press, 2000), chapter notes.  See also

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This 'tree' is really a pyramidal neuron of cerebral cortex.  The axon exiting at bottom goes long distances, eventually splitting up into 10,000 small branchlets to make synapses with other brain cells.
William H. Calvin

University of Washington
Seattle WA 98195-1800 USA



Short-form citations such as Dennett (1996) either refer to the authors’ books below or to a nearby full-length citation. The bibliography for the appendix is at the end.

Derek Bickerton, Roots of Language (Karoma, 1981).

Derek Bickerton, Language and Species (University of Chicago Press, 1990).

Derek Bickerton, Language and Human Behavior (University of Washington Press, 1995).

William H. Calvin, How Brains Think: Evolving Intelligence, Then and Now (Basic Books, 1996a).

William H. Calvin, The Cerebral Code: Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind (MIT Press, 1996b).

William H. Calvin and George A. Ojemann, Conversations with Neil's Brain: The Neural Nature of Thought and Language (Addison-Wesley, 1994).

These books also likely contain citations to many of the items we do not document below.

Chapter 1. The Villa Serbelloni

Ernst Mayr, This is Biology (Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 158.

"The idea that our prize possession, language, is just some mechanical thing . . . ." See, for example, Michael Beaken, The Making of Language (University of Edinburgh Press, 1996), where the author rejects generative grammar because it does not concern itself with the social use of language, or Philip Lieberman, Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution (W.W. Norton, 1998), which describes Chomskyan linguistics as "toy linguistics" (p. 125).

For an interesting review of Chomsky’s remarks on language and evolution, see Frederick J. Newmeyer, "On the supposed counterfunctionality of Universal Grammar: some evolutionary implications" in James R. Hurford, Michael Studdert-Kennedy and Chris Knight, Approaches to the Evolution of Language (Cambridge University Press, 1998).

"Some of what has been written . . . ." Derek Bickerton, "I chat, thereby I groom." Nature 380:303 (1996).

"Stages in child’s development...." C. Darwin, "A biographical sketch of an infant," Mind, July, 1877, pp. 285-294, reprinted in Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, v. 13, n. 5, supplement 24, 1971, pp. 1-8.

"Nine new words every day...." Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct (Allen Lane, London, 1994), p. 151.

Sven Birkerts, The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Information Age (Faber and Faber 1994). "Not only is the text a distillation, a dramatic shaping of materials, but the... result is an altered state of awareness, a kindled_up sort of high."

Chapter 2. What Are Words?

For discussion of the relationship between words and what they signify, see Roger Brown, Words and Things (Harvard University Press, 1970), and Willard Quine, Word and Object (Wiley and Sons, 1960).

Ferdinand De Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (McGraw-Hill, 1966 [1915]).

"the picture of reality you carry about . . . ." I have dealt with these issues at some length: Bickerton (1990), see especially Chapters 2 and 4.

The idea that words have properties that have to match if the words are to be combined, is central to Chomsky’s Minimalist Program. Noam Chomsky, "A minimalist program for linguistic theory" in Kenneth Hale and Samuel Jay Keyser, eds., The View from Building 20: Essays in Linguistics in Honor of Sylvain Bromberger (MIT Press, 1993), pp. 1-52.

See also Noam Chomsky, "Bare phrase structure", in Gert Webelhuth, ed., Government and Binding Theory and the Minimalist Program: Principles and Parameters in Syntactic Theory (Basil Blackwell, 1995), pp. 383-439.

"what makes cartoon sketches so successful...." Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (Kitchen Sink Press, 1993).

Themes, see Gerald Holton, "On the art of scientific imagination," Daedalus 125(2):183-208 (Spring 1996).

For looking at things with a Darwinian template, see my examples in W. H. Calvin, "The Six Essentials? Minimal Requirements for the Darwinian Bootstrapping of Quality.," Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission, 1 (1997), at

Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth, How Monkeys See the Worlds: Inside the Mind of Another Species (University of Chicago Press, 1990).

"when a chimpanzee drags a branch." See Ellen J. Ingmanson, "Tool-using behavior in wild Pan paniscus: Social and ecological considerations," in Anne E. Russon, Kim A. Bard, and Sue Taylor Parker, eds., Reaching into Thought: The Minds of the Great Apes (Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 190-210 at p. 201.

Direct continuity of animal calls and language has a long history and a wide representation in the literature. For a proposal more concrete (if no more plausible) than most, see Charles F. Hockett and Robert Ascher, "The human revolution," Cultural Anthropology 5:135-168 (1964). A more recent, more tentative, and more sophisticated approach is that of Marc D. Hauser, The Evolution of Communication (MIT Press, 1996).

Terrence Deacon, The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain (W.W. Norton, 1997).

For details about the chimpanzee Sherman, see E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Ape Language: From Conditioned Response to Symbol (Columbia University Press, 1986). For a recent account of Kanzi, see Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Stuart G. Shanker, and Talbot J. Taylor, Apes, Language, and the Human Mind. (Oxford University Press, 1998).

"the real rubicon," Herbert S. Terrace, Louise A. Petitto, Robert J. Sanders and Thomas G. Bever, "Can an ape create a sentence?" Science 206:891_900 (1979).

T. J. Grabowski, Hanna Damasio, and Antonio R. Damasio, "Premotor and prefrontal correlates of category_related lexical retrieval," Neuroimage 7:232_243 (1998).

Hanna Damasio, T. J. Grabowski, Daniel Tranel, R. D. Hichwa, and Antonio R. Damasio, "A neural basis for lexical retrieval," Nature 380:499_505 (1996).


Chapter 3. Why Putting Words Together Isn't Easy

Robert M. W. Dixon, ed., Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages (Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1976).

For the one-word stage in language acquisition, see Lois Bloom, One Word at a Time: The Use of Single Word Utterances before Syntax (Mouton, 1973).

Typical samples of protolanguage can be found in the appendix to Bickerton 1995.

"depart from the customary word order unpredictably . . . ." In other words protolanguage varieties do not, unlike true languages, move words for specific reasons, such as to give them added emphasis.

A more positive view of protolanguage is given in discussion of the "pragmatic mode" by Talmy Givon, On Understanding Grammar (Academic Press, 1979).

Of course you’ll point out here that toddler talk does develop into true language. Or does it? Might it not be the case that true language simply replaces toddler talk? (More about this in the appendix.)

For instance, Genie – see Susan Curtiss, Genie: A Psycholinguistic Study of a Modern-Day "Wild Child" (Academic Press 1977) – who was raised without language by her abusive father until she was thirteen, and never passed beyond the protolanguage stage despite falling well within the normal IQ range and undergoing intensive instruction for several years (for a full discussion see Bickerton 1990).

Patricia K. Kuhl, S. Kirtani, T. Deguchi, A. Hayashi, E. B. Stevens, C. D. Dugger, and P. Iverson, "Effects of language experience on speech perception: American and Japanese infants’ perception of /ra/ and /la/," Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 102:3135 (1997).

Pinker (1994), p. 151.

For a comprehensive description of how pidgin-to-creole conversion happened in Hawaii, see Sarah J. Roberts. "The role of diffusion in the genesis of Hawaiian Creole." Language 74 (1998).

Judy Kegl and Gayle A. Iwata, "Lenguage de Signos Nicaraguense: a pidgin sheds light on the ‘creole’?", in Robert Carlson et al., eds., Proceedings of the Fourth Meeting of the Pacific Linguistics Conference, 266-294 (Department of Linguistics, University of Oregon, 1989) describes a similar situation among the deaf in Nicaragua.

Some of the erroneous structures we impose on chaos happen to be useful, e.g., even though we first viewed electrons as circling the atom's nucleus like a planet, it was a useful stepping_stone to quantum mechanics' probabilistic cloud.

Ursula Bellugi, P. P. Wang, and T. L. Jernigan, "Williams’ syndrome: an unusual psychoneurological profile." In S. Brosnan and J. Grafman, eds., Atypical Cognitive Deficits in Developmental Disorders: Implications for Brain Function, 23-56 (Erlbaum, 1994).

Doreen Kimura, Neuromotor Mechanisms in Human Communication (Oxford University Press 1993).

George A. Ojemann, "Cortical organization of language," Journal of Neuroscience 11:2281-2287 (August 1991); "Cortical organization of language and verbal memory based on intraoperative investigations," Progress in Sensory Physiology 12:193-230 (1991).

Chapter 4. Bigger than a Word, Smaller than a Sentence

For a fuller discussion of the differences between protolanguage and language, see Bickerton 1990.

Unfortunately, I know of no really good, really simple introduction to syntax – the world badly needs one. Chapter 4 of Steven Pinker, The Language Instinct (William Morrow & Co., 1994) is more fun than most.

Speed differences, cited in Bickerton 1983.

Just about any work on generative grammar later than about 1980 will discuss empty categories. None of these books are what you’d call easy reading; the most user-friendly one that I know is Andrew Radford, Transformational Grammar: A First Course (Cambridge University Press, 1988).

Of course, in answers to questions, we may find isolated phrases (say, "his new credit card") if the question was something like "What did Fred put into his wallet?" But this merely presupposes that the structure of the question is somehow present in the answer, and many linguists believe that "Fred put . . . in his wallet" was present at an earlier phase of composing the sentence and subsequently removed prior to utterance.

Pinker (1994), p. 86.

The pioneer in argument structure was Jeffrey S. Gruber, whose 1965 doctoral dissertation, Studies in Lexical Relations, was published in 1970 by the Indiana University Linguistics Club. Since then there have been literally hundreds of publications dealing with thematic roles and argument structure, among which Ray Jackendoff, Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar (MIT Press, 1972) is one of the more readable and widely quoted works.

Of course, you will find sentences like "Bill kicked and struggled, but could not escape his assailants." Many transitive verbs have intransitive equivalents, but there’s a big difference here between "kicked" and "struggled": you can have "Bill kicked his assailants" but not "Bill struggled his assailants." You have to say, "Bill struggled WITH his assailants." And the reason you have to include the preposition is that "struggle" is a REAL intransitive, not – like "kick" – a transitive that on occasion will allow actions that don’t reach or maybe don’t even have targets.

Michel DeGraff (personal communication) points out that there are verbs like "bet" or "wager" that (it could be argued) involve four obligatory participants:"I (1) bet you (2) five dollars (3) that the Falcons win the Super Bowl (4)." However, since "I bet you that the Falcons win the Super Bowl" is a perfectly grammatical sentence, the insertion of a sum of money appears (although heavily favored in our culture) to be optional. Similarly, one can say "Bill bet fifty bucks that Rabid Chomskyite would win in the fifth." It would be bizarre, even if factually accurate, to say "Bill bet the bookie fifty bucks."

Imperatives might seem an obvious exception to this. If I say "Get out!", no participant at all is expressed. Yet neither is any ambiguity involved. "Get out!" means that whoever I am addressing should get out – not the cat, or the President, or anyone else, but "You!"

"For every invisible argument there’s a visible argument in the same sentence that refers to the same person or thing." This is oversimplifying a little. Generic arguments may be there without overt form or any antecedent. For instance, if I say "They sang for an hour," it can be understood that what they sang were songs, not short stories or telephone directories. Similarly, if I say "To get there is real easy," I mean it’s easy for anyone to get there.

Chapter 5. Language in the Brain

The basic reference for chapters 5-8 is The Cerebral Code, though the last two chapters of How Brains Think cover the topics more briefly, as does W. H. Calvin, "Competing for consciousness: A Darwinian mechanism at an appropriate level of explanation," Journal of Consciousness Studies 5(4):389-404 (1998). They are available at on the web.

Neurologists have a somewhat maddening tendency to write about language as if it were words ("Language gives us names for things") and maybe sentences, often missing the point that syntax is our best example of how structured thinking works. Nonetheless, let me strongly recommend Antonio R. Damasio’s The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace, 1999) which tackles the whole spectrum of consciousness quite usefully, including how language amplifies it (

Gregory Bateson: "Information is a difference that makes a difference." He noted that data is just a signal of a difference. (With thanks to Stewart Brand.)

"[often] information from the sense organs and our memories is being collected in aid of a plan of action." In deciding whether to order expensive or risky medical tests, physicians have to ask themselves whether the results are likely to help them decide what to do next. And that depends on the treatment options (often, getting a brain scan makes no practical difference) or if there are dangerous alternative diagnoses to rule out.

For more on concept categories revealed by strokes, see the last chapter of Calvin & Ojemann (1994).

John Hart and Barry Gordon, "Neural subsystems for object knowledge," Nature 359:60-64 (1992). Offers evidence for a major division between visually-based and language-based higher-level representations.

Human temporal lobe concepts, see Antonio R. Damasio and Daniel Tranel, " Nouns and verbs are retrieved with differently distributed neural systems," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.) 90:4957-4760 (1 June 1993).

Chapter 6. How Are Memories Stored?

Henry David Thoreau (Bradley P. Dean, editor), Faith in a Seed : The Dispersion of Seeds and Other Late Natural History Writings (Island Press, 1993), at p. 12.

Not only was the Canadian psychologist D.O. Hebb amazingly ahead of his time with the concepts in The Organization of Behavior (Wiley 1949), but so was the English biologist J. W. S. Pringle with his paper, "On the parallel between learning and evolution," Behaviour 3:174_215 (1951). I thank Richard Dawkins for bringing Pringle’s work to my attention and Greg Ransome for noting Friedrich Hayek’s The Sensory Order from the same period.

Chapter 7. Hexagonal Mosaics and Darwin Machines

For more background on copying competitions, see W. H. Calvin, "The Six Essentials? Minimal Requirements for the Darwinian Bootstrapping of Quality," Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission, 1 (1997), at

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Recuerdos de mi Vida: Historia de mi Labor Científica (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1923).

"Many models of coupled oscillators exhibit such entrainment." Arthur Winfree, "Biological rhythms and the behavior of populations of coupled oscillators," Journal of Theoretical Biology 16:15_42 (1967).

Chapter 8. A Common Code: The Brain’s "Esperanto" Problem

Edward O. Wilson, Consilience (Harvard University Press, 1998).

R. Shadmehr and H. H. Holcomb, "Neural correlates of motor memory consolidation," Science 277:821 (8 August 1997).


Chapter 9. Protolanguage Emerging

There are any number of good books about evolution, so we’re not going to rehash the basics of this subject. Anyone who wants a good, accessible summary could read Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (Longmans, 1986) or Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life (W.W. Norton, 1989). For a more academic approach, see George C. Williams, Adaptation and Natural Selection (Princeton University Press, 1966).

For an account of the progressive increase of human brain size, see Philip V. Tobias, The Brain in Hominid Evolution (Columbia University Press, 1971) and Terrence W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species (Norton, 1997).

Robert Foley (1987). "Hominid species and stone tool assemblies," Antiquity 61:380-392. Contains a comparison between the stone tools of various ancestral species.

A summary of the Caldwell’s studies of signature whistles can be found in M. C. Caldwell, D. K. Caldwell and P. Tyack, "Review of the signature whistle hypothesis for the bottlenosed dolphin", in S. Leatherwood and R. R. Reeves, eds., The Bottlenosed Dolphin (Academic Press, 1990).

Frans de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

Jane Goodall, The Chimpanzees of Gombe (Harvard University Press, 1986); George B. Schaller, The Mountain Gorilla: Ecology and Behavior (University of Chicago Press, 1963); Barbara B. Smuts, Sex and Friendship in Baboons (Aldine, 1986).

"alliances, altruism, cheating, loyalty, revenge, betrayal." Frans de Waal, Good-natured: The Origin of Right and Wrong in Modern Humans (Harvard University Press, 1996).

Nicholas K. Humphrey, "The social function of intellect," in P. G. Bateson and R. A. Hinde, eds., Growing Points in Ethology (Cambridge University Press, 1976), 303-317.

Richard W. Byrne and Andrew Whiten, Machiavellian Intelligence: Social Expertise and the Evolution of Intellect in Monkeys, Apes and Humans (Oxford University Press, 1988).

David Premack and George Woodruff, "Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?" Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4:515-526 (1978).

Cecilia M. Heyes, "Theory of mind in nonhuman primates," Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21:101-148 (1998) provides a recent and thorough overview of this somewhat contentious field.

"a prerequisite for language as we know it." See, for example, Robert Worden, "The evolution of language from social intelligence," in Hurford, Studdert-Kennedy and Knight, eds. (1998), pp. 148-166.

The literature on teaching symbolic systems to apes is now enormous. It falls roughly into three phases, one of extreme optimism (Beatrix T. Gardner and R. Alan Gardner, "Teaching sign language to a chimpanzee," Science 165:664-672 (1969), then one of pessimism (Herbert S. Terrace, Nim [Knopf 1979]), then one of more careful and cautious rebuilding (Savage-Rumbaugh 1986).

So far as we know, band size, even as late as the Paleolithic, was quite small. See F. A. Hassan, Demographic Archaeology (Academic Press, 1981), who suggests that the average group size at that time was as little as 22 (with a range from 11 to 31).

See Robert Foley, Another Unique Species (Longman Group, 1987), for a good account of early hominid ecology.

Cheney and Seyfarth (1990, pp. 283-286). The authors carried out ingenious experiments with the carcasses of leopard kills and artificial python tracks, to which vervet monkeys failed entirely to respond. They also report naturalistic observations in which monkeys ignored clear signs that predators were close by, reacting only when the predator itself appeared.

According to Paul R. Ehrlich, The Machinery of Nature (Simon and Schuster, 1986), in the Serengeti, hyenas obtain about 33 percent of their food from scavenging, lions and leopards 10 percent-15 percent, and hunting dogs 3 percent; among hunting predators, only cheetahs refrain from scavenging.

Stephen Jay Gould and Richard C. Lewontin, "The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist program," Proceedings of the Royal Society B 205:581-598 (1979).

"Wraaa!", see Jane Goodall, The Chimpanzees of Gombe (Harvard University Press, 1986), p. 127.

It has even been suggested, quite seriously, that language evolved so that men out hunting all day could ask relatives or neighbors if their wives had been unfaithful to them in their absence (Matt Ridley, The Red Queen, Macmillan, 1993, p. 229, citing an interview with Richard Wrangham).

Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Stuart G. Shanker and Talbot J. Taylor, Apes, Language, and the Human Mind (Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 60.

"[N]ames for basic-level object kinds are among the first words acquired and are considerably more frequent in child language than they are for adults," according to Paul Bloom, "Theories of word learning: rationalist alternatives to associationist," in William C. Ritchie and Tej K. Bhatia, Handbook of Child Language Acquisition (Academic Press, 1999), 249-278 (citation from p. 254). Even though other words learned early include things that do not indicate simple objects, these, according to Bloom, consist mainly of features of the environment such as "beach," "kitchen," "sky," "rain," "morning," and so on.

Elinor Ochs, Culture and Language Development: Language Acquisition and Language Socialization in a Samoan Village (Cambridge University Press, 1988); Bambi Schieffelin, The Give and Take of Everyday Life: Language Socialization of Kaluli Children (Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Kanzi pointing, see p. 56 of Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, "Why are we afraid of apes with language?" pp. 43-69 in The Origin and Evolution of Intelligence, edited by Arnold B. Scheibel and J. William Schopf (Sudbury MA: Jones and Bartlett, 1997).

"major facts about hunting." The list is mine but, for a serious backgrounder, see Matt Cartmill, A View to a Death in the Morning (Harvard University Press, 1993).

For some of the changing views of paleoecology, see Richard W. Wrangham, James Holland Jones, Greg Laden, David Pilbeam, NancyLou Conklin-Brittain, "The raw and the stolen: cooking and the ecology of human origins," Current Anthropology (to appear, 1999).

"rather than simply snatching the prize." See Richard Wrangham, Dale Peterson, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (Houghton Mifflin, 1996).

Ernst Mayr, This is Biology (Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 184_185.

Chapter 10.

Reciprocal Altruism as the Predecessor of Argument Structure

"I and others." Syntax, see Terrence et al. (1979).

Sexual selection, see Helena Cronin, The Ant and the Peacock (Cambridge University Press, 1992).

Anita Daugherty, Marine Mammals of California (State of California Dept. of Fish and Game, 1972).

"neocortex size." Richard W. Byrne, The Thinking Ape: Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence (Oxford University Press, 1995).

B. Pawlowsli, Robin I. M. Dunbar, and C. Lowen, "Neocortex size, social skill and mating success in male primates," Behaviour 135: 357_368 (1998).

"genes of others preferential treatment." William D. Hamilton, "The genetical evolution of social behavior," Journal of Theoretical Biology 7:1-52 (1964).

Robert Trivers, "The evolution of reciprocal altruism," Quarterly Review of Biology 46:35-57 (1971).

"as many subsequent ethological studies confirmed." For example, Shirley C. Strum, Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons (Random House, 1987); de Waal (1996, 1998).

Social life references, see Chapter 4 notes.

Friendships, from Strum (1987), p. 135 (emphasis added).

Subtle cheater, from Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997) p. 403.

David I. Perrett, M. H. Harries, R. Bevan, S. Thomas, P. J. Benson, A. J. Mistlin, A. J. Chitty, J. K. Hieranen and J. E. Ortega, "Framework of analysis for the neural representation of behavior", Journal of Experimental Biology 146:87-113 (1989).

See Endel Tulving, "Elements of episodic memory," Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7:223-238 (1984) and commentaries thereon for a variety of views on the nature of memory.

David S. Olton, "Comparative analysis of episodic memory," Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7:250-251 (1984).

WHC: Remember that the links between different elements of an episodic memory may become unreliable. See Elizabeth F. Loftus, "Creating false memories," Scientific American 277(3):70-75 (September 1997) and her Eyewitness Testimony (Harvard University Press, 1996).

Group selection backsliding, see Elliott Sober and David Sloan Wilson, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (Harvard University Press, 1998).

And why might altruism flourish in a climatically-challenged subpopulation? See chapter 13 and W. H. Calvin, "The emergence of intelligence," Scientific American Presents 9(4):44_51 (November 1998). Available at


Chapter 11. Role Links for Words

Exaptation was a term coined by Stephen Jay Gould and Elisabeth S. Vrba, "Exaptation – a missing term in the science of form," Paleobiology 1:4-15 (1982).

"language began as . . . ." Bickerton (1990, 1995).

The parentheses around NP and S merely mean that these elements are optional – a verb-phrase could consist of just the verb, as in "Bill left."

"Argument can be rewritten as . . . ." For simplicity I ignore optional arguments here. Their presence or absence makes no difference with respect to what’s at issue.

Most natural word order, see Bickerton (1981).

The process described here, discussed at greater length in the appendix, is similar to the process called "Merge" which is central to Chomsky’s most recent work: Noam Chomsky, "Bare phrase structure", in Gert Webelhuth, ed., Government and Binding Theory and the Minimalist Program (Basil Blackwell, 1995), pp. 383-439.

See Joseph Greenberg, Language Universals: With Special Reference to Feature Hierarchies (Mouton, 1976) to get some idea of the variety of different ways in which languages can map argument structure onto syntax.

For Darwinian aspects, see Calvin (1996); Gerald Edelman, Neural Darwinism (Basic Books, 1987); Daniel Dennett, Consciousness Explained (Little, Brown & Co., 1991).

Some linguists – for example, David Pesetsky, Zero Syntax (MIT Press, 1995) – would surely disagree, and (in Pesetsky’s case) claim that we also need experiencer (for the subjects of "psychological" verbs like "consider" or "fear," and causer for things that have causative effects but can’t be regarded as conscious, deliberate agents. Such linguists may well be right, but even if they are, it makes no difference to my present argument.

Robert J. Richards, Darwin and the Emergence of Evolutionary Theories of Mind and Behavior (University of Chicago Press, 1987), p. 399.

"what I formerly conceived as a single step." Derek Bickerton, "Catastrophic evolution: the case for a single step from protolanguage to full human language," in James R. Hurford, Michael Studdert-Kennedy and Chris Knight, eds., Approaches to the Evolution of Language (Cambridge University Press, 1998), 341-358.

148 For more details on Tokpisin, see Gillian Sankoff, "The genesis of a language," in Kenneth C. Hill, ed., The Genesis of Language (Karoma, 1979).

WHC: Let me mention some next-level-up categories that Derek’s categorical roles suggest to me, often called image schemas in cogsci (see Turner 1996, p. 16). They’re not just for objects but also for actions. Motion along a path is a simple image schema, used for locomotion, reaching out, falling apples, pouring tea, and so forth. Simple ones can combine to form a complex one, as when the goal of a path is said to be the interior of a container. It doesn’t take a motor systems neurophysiologist like me to recognize that "force dynamics" provides a lot of schemas for us to use at higher-than-concrete levels, e.g., pushing, pulling, resisting, yielding, releasing, dipping, rising, climbing, falling, and the aforementioned pouring.

Things like this aren’t as fundamental as agent, theme, goal – you won’t complain about a sentence being ungrammatical if they’re missing or overdetermined – but they might well be part of the higher levels above the social calculus roles, when we make small stories and then larger stories out of the morass of our experience.

I borrowed the Jewish Buddhist mantra from my friend Peter Warshall.

Chapter 12.

The Word Tree as a Secondary Use of Throwing’s

Segmented Movement Planner

The basic background on accurate throwing’s challenges is W. H. Calvin, "The unitary hypothesis: A common neural circuitry for novel manipulations, language, plan-ahead, and throwing?" In Tools, Language, and Cognition in Human Evolution, edited by Kathleen R. Gibson and Tim Ingold (Cambridge University Press,1993), pp. 230-250.

For the misleading illusion of the little person inside, see Daniel C. Dennett, Consciousness Explained (Little, Brown, 1991) and Antonio R. Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens (Harcourt Brace, 1999).

William James, "Great men, great thoughts, and the environment," The Atlantic Monthly 46(276):441_459 (October 1880).

Now that children develop the brain’s structured planning machinery before the age of three, well before accurate throwing is practiced, it may be that adult throwing operates somewhat differently now than it did earlier in evolution, simply because throwing is now the secondary use of the structured neural machinery rather than vice versa. Practicing prepositions could now affect the way accurate throwing is practiced!

Mark Turner, The Literary Mind (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 47.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground [Letters from the Underworld] (1864). Searchable at

Chapter 13.

Corticocortical Coherence Promotes a
Many-Voiced Symphonic Sentence

The long version of corticocortical coherence is in Chapter 8 of The Cerebral Code, available at on the web.

Jacob Bronowski, The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination (Yale University Press 1978, transcribed from 1967 lectures), p. 105.

Dropping back to an incoherent arcuate fasciculus is something of a model for disconnection syndromes such as Wernicke’s conduction aphasia. What’s usually described as conduction aphasia is a stroke that doesn’t obviously damage auditory cortex or Wernicke’s area, one which largely affects white matter such as arcuate fasciculus. That doesn’t mean that it gets all (or even most) of the arcuate fasciculus. Strokes that are bigger are also likely to damage the aforementioned cortical areas, and therefore get called something else. So conduction aphasia is almost by definition a small stroke.

The main deficits described for what gets labeled conduction aphasia are repetition difficulties (and even that is denied by some authors) and paraphasias for words. Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas are what light up in PET on working memory tasks such as rehearsing a phone number long enough to dial it, so this likely involves arcuate. What would really hurt structured sentences of some complexity, in my model, would be functional disorganization of the arcuate, e.g., sprouting secondary to injury, timing changes because of disrupted myelination, etc. – not fractional loss of arcuate per se.

Turner (1996), p. 20.

Turner (1996), p. 57.

Chapter 14. The Pump and the Slingshot

Daniel C. Dennett, Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness (Basic Books, 1996), p. 147.

Concealed ovulation, see Jared Diamond, Why is Sex Fun? (Basic Books, 1997).

W.H. Calvin, "The great climate flip-flop," The Atlantic Monthly 281(1):47-64 (January 1998). See also

An extensive bibliography on abrupt climate change can be found at on the web.

W.H. Calvin, "A stone's throw and its launch window: timing precision and its implications for language and hominid brains," Journal of Theoretical Biology 104:121_135 (1983).

W. H. Calvin, "The unitary hypothesis: A common neural circuitry for novel manipulations, language, plan-ahead, and throwing?" in Tools, Language, and Cognition in Human Evolution, edited by Kathleen R. Gibson and Tim Ingold (Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 230-250.

One example of a relaxation is in the size of the human chewing teeth. As food preparation involving pottery is discovered, there is a drop of 10 to 15 percent in the surface area of the cheek teeth. This happens at different times in different parts of the world, but all correlate with when food technology improvements occur. See C. Loring Brace, Karen R. Rosenberg, and Kevin D. Hunt, "Gradual change in human tooth size in the late Pleistocene and post Pleistocene." Evolution 41:705-720 (1987). Another relaxation is probably nearsightedness. (At least, I have difficulty imagining a hunting-and-gathering population with the modern percentage of myopia!)

Oliver Sacks, Seeing Voices (University of California Press, 1989).

Frans de Waal, Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong (Harvard University Press, 1996).

Albert Einstein (inscription on his statue in front of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington DC, USA).

Chapter 15. Darwin and Chomsky Together at Last

Friedrich Max Muller, Lectures on the Science of Language delivered at the Royal Institute of Great Britain in April, May and June, 1861, 4th ed. (Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green, 1864), p. 368.

"from inarticulate cries." Charles Darwin to Max Muller (3 July 1873), in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin, ed. (Appleton, 1903) 2: 45.

Ban: Societe Linguistique de Paris, Statuts, Section 2 (1886).

Emil Kraepelin’s major works, ignored for decades, have been translated and reprinted, e.g., Lectures in Clinical Psychiatry, Thomas Johnstone, ed. (Hafner, 1968 – facsimile of 1904 edition); Manic Depressive Insanity and Paranoia (Arno Press, 1976 – reprint of 1921 edition).

Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rational Thought (Harper and Row, 1966). Reasons for this Cartesian choice are far from clarified by Chomsky’s most recent discussion of it ("Knowledge of history and theory construction in modern linguistics," Revista de Documentacao de Estudoes em Linguistica Teorica e Aplicada, vol 13, Numero Especial, 1997, pp. 103-122).

Of course, nowadays apes suffer under a far more remorseless pressure than human ancestors ever had to contend with: us. But we weren’t around when the nature of modern apes was being forged, and though it would be nice to see them mutate fast and develop defensive strategies (even weapons), there’s not the slightest chance that they will.

Herbert G. Wells, "The Grisly Folk," in Selected Short Stories of H.G. Wells (Penguin Books, 1958), pp. 285-298; William Golding, The Inheritors (Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955).

Although we still don’t know much more than generalities about why the brain enlarged, we increasingly know something about what changed in development to produce a larger brain/body ratio. See Terrence W. Deacon, The Symbolic Species (Norton, 1997) for the story.

Derek Bickerton, "Creole languages, the language bioprogram, and language acquisition" in William C. Ritchie and Tej K. Bhatia, eds., Handbook of Child Language Acquisition (Academic Press, 1999), pp. 195-220.

For a description of the syntactic spurt, see Wilhelm Leopold, Speech Development of Bilingual Child (Northwestern University Press, 1939-1949), Vol. 4; and John Limber, "The Genesis of Complex Sentences," in John Moore, ed., Cognitive Development and the Acquisition of Meaning (Academic Press, 1973), pp. 169-185.

Recapitulationist idea: Ernst Haeckel, Anthropogenie oder Entwicklungsgeschichte des Menschen (Engelman, 1891).

See, for example, David Poeppel and Kenneth Wexler, "The full competene hypothesis of clause structure in early German," Language 69:1-33 (1993).

An extensive survey of the consequences of Broca’s aphasia in several languages can be found in Lisa Menn and Lorraine K. Obler, Agrammatic Aphasia: A Cross-Language Narrative Textbook (Benjamins, 1990, 3 vols.).

Myrna Gopnik and M. B Crago, "Familial aggregation of a developmental language disorder," Cognition 39:1-50 (1991).

Linguistics Appendix: Notes

page, note number (name-year references are in the bibliography that follows these notes)

1 Chomsky (1995), p. 386.

2 Chomsky’s citation1 could be interpreted in this light; for an even clearer statement, see Lightfoot (1997).

3 Theory underdetermined by data: more generally, see Chomsky (1966).

4 Chomsky (1995); see also Marantz (1995).

5 Larson (1988). See the criticism of his proposals by Jackendoff (1990).

6 Pollock (1989). See the criticism of his proposals by Iatridou (1990).

7 For instance, those cited in Barss and Lasnik (1986).

8 It dates from Reinhart (1976), and is thus among the oldest surviving generative mechanisms.

9 There is no mention of "Merge" in Chomsky (1993) or even Marantz (1995); the notion emerges only in Chomsky (1995, but published as an Occasional Paper the previous year).

10 Chomsky (1997, p. 191).

11 Chomsky (1997, p. 191).

12 Chomsky (1986). See also Reinhart and Reuland (1993).

13 See Vergnaud (1974), Kayne (1994). As will be shown below, this analysis does not require to be stipulated within the present framework; it follows necessarily from the attachment process.

14 Chomsky (1981).

15 That all branching must be binary was originally proposed by Kayne (1984).

16 Chomsky (1995), p. 397.

17 Abney (1987).

18 Chomsky (1995, pp. 395-398).

19 In this respect, the present proposals follow the Universal Alignment Hypothesis of Perlmutter and Postal (1984) rather than the Uniformity of Theta-Assignment Hypothesis (Baker 1988).

20 This discussion benefits from, even if it does not exactly follow, the discussion in Pesetsky (1995, Chapters 2 and 3).

21 Note a similar alternation with some of the Theme/Experiencer cases noted in the preceding paragraph:

i) Politics worries John

ii) John worries about politics

iii) Ghosts frighten John

iv) John is frightened of/by ghosts

This suggests that when a causative-type verb moves its Experiencer to final attachment, the demoted Theme/Cause moves and requires a preposition (see discussion of passive, below).

22 There have been numerous attempts to establish a thematic role hierarchy, for a variety of purposes. See for example Jackendoff (1972) and Randall (1984), among others. Interestingly, although it was designed for binding purposes, Jackendoff’s hierarchy (Agent > Goal > Theme) is virtually identical with the one described here. In discussing it, Williams (1995, p. 122) noted that the implied connection between binding theory and theta theory was a "surprising" one. The observation is just, but if we assume that both binding and theta-role mapping are determined by a single factor – priority and finality of attachment – the connection no longer surprises.

23 Compare with the treatment of "chomage" in Perlmutter (1971).

24 There are some obvious exceptions, such as

i) John was said by Bill to have been arrested EC.

where A-movement carries "John" right outside its minimal domain. However, even if gaps and traces are assumed here, the same mechanism used to identify ECs left by A-bar movement (see below) works equally well.

25 cf., Chomsky (1995), Kayne (1994).

26 The description of the copy theory of movement by Marantz (1995, 373) could hardly be improved on, and is accepted here without reservation. What is really interesting about this proposal is that in all probability the brain performs exactly as the theory would predict. While the brain is assembling a sentence (presumably by means of some complex signal coded for all the sentence constituents), the part of the signal that encodes a moved constituent must appear in both (original and target) positions; there would seem no other, certainly no simpler way of establishing coreference. However, the motor control areas must be somehow instructed which of the two copies must be given phonetic form and which must be ignored.

27 Note, however, that adjunct phrases of time, place, etc., can be attached directly to the node dominating the final attachment:

i) In the afternoon Mary works in her garden.

However, many languages (such as German) require licensing by a tensed auxiliary for any postfinal attachment, which is what leads to the existence of so-called V2 languages.

28 cf. Chomsky (1981, pp. 195, 231-233). The example given is from Hornstein and Weinberg (1995, p. 268, ex. 74a).

29 e.g., Pesetsky (1989); Rizzi (1990).

30 See Lasnik (1976), Chomsky (1980), Higginbotham (1980), Reinhart (1983), Manzini and Wexler (1987), and Pollard and Sag (1992) for a representative sampling of varied approaches to binding.

31 Chomsky (1981).

32 According to Carden and Stewart (1988).

33 Details and examples from Iatridou (1986).

34 Details and examples from Iatridou (1986).

35 Pesetsky (1995).

36 den Dikken (1995, pp. 216-217). The details of his proposals do not concern us here; briefly, they involve a cascade-type structure for Goal-Theme structures and A-movement for Theme-Goal structures.

37 Langacker (1969) was among the first to suggest that linear precedence played a role in binding. The suggestion has been raised more recently by Barss and Lasnik (1986) and Jackendoff (1990), among others.

38 Examples are from Williams (1989).

39 Pesetsky (1995, p. 201).

40 Chomsky (1976).

41 Huang (1995, pp. 140-1).

42 These examples are from Pesetsky (1995, p. 186).

43 To regard small clauses as systematic reductions of copula clauses is, of course, only one of many solutions in the literature for the problem presented by small clauses. Moreover, it is not a viable solution for many small clauses:

i) *They ate the meat was raw.

ii) *They elected Bill is president.

although "They elected/chose Bill to be president" is possible. Although it would be nice to give all small clauses a single analysis (and many treatments attempt just this), there is no logical reason why they should all share the same structure. In this context it is worth noting that many languages, in particular many creoles, have separate copulas for NP_NP and NP_Adj environments (the second being usually zero, with the adjective behaving in many ways like a verb, see Bickerton 1973).

44 This example is from Pesetsky (1995, p. 222).

45 For instance, den Dikken (1995, p. 217) and Barss and Lasnik (1986).

Linguistics Appendix: Bibliography

Abney, S. 1987. The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.

Baker, M. 1988. Incorporation: A theory of Grammatical Function Changing. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Barss, A., and H. Lasnik. 1986. A note on anaphora and double objects. Linguistic Inquiry 17.347-354.

Bickerton, D. 1973. The nature of a creole continuum. Language 49.640-669

Bralich, P. 1991. Doctoral dissertation, University of Hawaii.

Carden, G., and W.A. Stewart. 1988. Binding theory, bioprogram and creolization: evidence from Haitian Creole. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 3.1-69.

Chomsky, N. 1965. Cartesian Linguistics: A Chapter in the History of Rational Thought. New York: Harper and Row.

Chomsky, N. 1976. Conditions on rules of grammar. Linguistic Analysis 2.303-351.

Chomsky, N. 1980. On binding. Linguistic Inquiry 11.1-46.

Chomsky, N. 1981. Lectures on government and binding. Dordrecht: Foris.

Chomsky, N. 1986. Knowledge of language: Its nature, origin and use. New York: Praeger.

Chomsky, N. 1993. A minimalist program for linguistic theory. In K. Hale and S.J. Keyser, eds., The View from Building 20: Essays in Linguistics in Honor of Sylvain Bromberger, pp. 1-52. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Chomsky, N. 1993. Bare phrase structure. In G. Webelhuth, ed., 381-439.

Chomsky, N. 1997. Interview in Chomsky no Brasil: Revista de Documentacao de Estudos em Linguistica Teorica e Aplicada, Vol. 13, Special Number, 159-193.

den Dikken, M. 1995. Particles: on the syntax of verb-particle, triadic, and Causative constructions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Higginbotham, J. 1980. Pronouns and bound variables. Linguistic Inquiry 11.679-708.

Hornstein, N., and A. Weinberg. 1995. The empty category principle. In G. Webelhuth, ed., 241-296.

Huang, C.-T. J. 1995. Logical form. In G. Webelhuth, ed., 125-175.

Iatridou, S. 1986. An anaphor not bound in its governing category. Linguistic Inquiry 17.766-772.

Iatridou, S. 1990. About Agr(P). Linguistic Inquiry 21.551-577.

Jackendoff, R. 1972. Semantic Interpretation in Generative Grammar. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Jackendoff, R. 1990. On Larson’s treatment of the double object construction. Linguistic Inquiry 21.427-456.

Kayne, R. 1984. Connectedness and Binary Branching. Dordrecht: Foris.

Kayne, R. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

Langacker, R. 1969. Pronominalization and the chain of command. In D. Reibel and S. Schane, eds., Modern studies in English. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Larson, R. 1988. On the double object construction. Linguistic Inquiry 19.33-91.

Lasnik, H. 1976. Remarks on coreference. Linguistic Analysis 2.1-22.

Lightfoot, D.W. 1997. Reply to Bauer. Language 73.358.

Manzini, M.R., and K. Wexler. 1987. Oarameters, binding theory and learnability. Linguistic Inquiry 18.413-444.

Marantz, A. 1995. The minimalist program. In G. Webelhuth, ed., 349-382.

Perlmutter, D. 1977. Deep and Surface Structure Constraints in Syntax. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Perlmutter, D.M, and P. Postal. 1984. The I-advancement exclusiveness law. In D.M. Perlmutter and C. Rosen, eds., Studies in Relational Grammar 2, 81-125. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Pesetsky, D. (1989). Language-particular processes and the Earliness Principle. Ms, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.

Pesetsky, D. 1995. Zero syntax: Experiencers and cascades. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Pollard, C., and I. Sag. 1992. Anaphors in English and the scope of binding theory. Linguistic Inquiry 23.261-303.

Randall, J.H. 1984. Thematic structure and inheritance. Quaderni di Semantica 5.92-110.

Reinhart, T. 1976. The syntactic domain of anaphora. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.

Reinhart, T. 1983. Coreference and bound anaphora: a restatement of the anaphora question. Linguistics and Philosophy 6.47-88.

Reinhart, Tanya, and Eric Reuland. 1993. Transitivity. Linguistic Inquiry 17.501_558.

Rizzi, L. 1990. Relativized minimality. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Vergnaud, J.-R. 1974. French relative clauses. Doctoral dissertation, MIT.

Webelhuth, G. (ed.) 1995. Government and binding theory and the minimalist program: Principles and parameters in syntactic theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Williams, E. 1989. The anaphoric nature of theta-roles. Linguistic Inquiry, 20.425-456.

Williams, E. 1995. Theta theory. In G. Webelhuth, ed., 97-124.

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