Reconceptualizing Merge in Search for the Link With Brain Oscillatory Nature of Language in Biolinguistics


  • Koji Hoshi Orcid


This brief piece argues that it is desirable to reconceptualize the syntactic combinatorial mechanism Merge as a higher-order function that takes two functions (= a selector function and its ‘argument’ function) and yields a composite function in the context of I-language. On this functional characterization of Merge, all of the elements involved in Merge are conceived as functions as well: lexical items (LIs) as input of Merge and syntactic objects (SOs) as both input and output of Merge. It is claimed that this perspective of Merge is a bridging step toward further facilitating the mesoscopic-level (= dynome-level) investigation of the brain oscillatory nature of human language in the field of biolinguistics. In this framework, I make the case that it would be possible to analyze the brain oscillatory nature of Merge by appealing to the mathematical operation of the Fourier transform (FT) to the extent that Merge-related brain oscillations as physical waves can be captured by complex exponential functions/trigonometric functions in the temporal domain.