The Third Factor in Phonology


  • Bridget Samuels


This article attempts to investigate how much of phonology can be explained by properties of general cognition and the Sensorimotor system — in other words, third-factor principles, in support of the evolutionary scenario posed by Hauser et al. (2002a). It argues against Pinker & Jackendoff’s (2005: 212) claim that “major characteristics of phonology are specific to language (or to language & music), [and] uniquely human,” and their conclusion that “phonology represents a major counterexample to the recursion-only hypothesis.” Contrary to the statements by Anderson (2004) and Yip (2006a, 2006b) to the effect that phonology has not been tested in animals, it is shown that virtually all the abilities that underlie phonological competence have been shown in other species.