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Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The brain plus the cultural transmission mechanism determine the nature of language
Author(s): Smith, Kenny
Kirby, Simon
Smith, Andrew D M
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Issue Date: Oct-2008
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Citation: Smith K, Kirby S & Smith ADM (2008) The brain plus the cultural transmission mechanism determine the nature of language. [Commentary on: MH Christiansen and N Chater,"Language as shaped by the brain", Behavioral and Brain Sciences, (2008) Vol.31, pp.489–558.] Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 31 (5), pp. 533-53
Abstract: We agree that language adapts to the brain, but we note that language also has to adapt to brain-external constraints, such as those arising from properties of the cultural transmission medium. The hypothesis that Christiansen & Chater (C&C) raise in the target article not only has profound consequences for our understanding of language, but also for our understanding of the biological evolution of the language faculty.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: Publisher policy allows this work to be made available in this repository. Published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences by Cambridge University Press, copyright 2008. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Volume 31, Issue 05, October 2008, pp 533-534. DOI:
Affiliation: Northumbria University
University of Edinburgh
English Studies

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