On the Nature of Syntax


  • Alona Soschen


There is a tendency in science to proceed from descriptive methods towards an adequate explanatory theory and then move beyond its conclusions. Our purpose is to discover the concepts of computational efficiency in natural language that exclude redundancy, and to investigate how these relate to more general principles. By developing the idea that linguistic structures possess the features of other biological systems this article focuses on the third factor that enters into the growth of language in the individual. It is suggested that the core principles of grammar can be observed in nature itself. The Faculty of Language is an efficient mechanism designed for the continuation of movement in compliance with optimization requirements. To illustrate that, a functional explanation of syntactic Merge is offered in this work, and an attempt is made to identify some criteria that single out this particular computational system as species-specific.

Author Biography

Alona Soschen, MIT
Linguistics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences postdoc