Research Topic

The Biology of Language Under a Minimalist Lens: Promises, Achievements, and Limits

About this Research Topic

The advent of the Minimalist Program (MP) proposed by Chomsky in 1995 brought about a revolution in linguistics and in cognitive sciences. The idea of a faculty of language richly articulated was abandoned in favour of a view of language as a bare minimum interfacing with sensorimotor (SM) and ...

The advent of the Minimalist Program (MP) proposed by Chomsky in 1995 brought about a revolution in linguistics and in cognitive sciences. The idea of a faculty of language richly articulated was abandoned in favour of a view of language as a bare minimum interfacing with sensorimotor (SM) and conceptual-intentional (C-I) systems also involved in other abilities. At that moment, this fresh view was expected to explain better than others how language is implemented in the brain and how it evolved in the species, because it was claimed to be more in line with how biologists conceive development and evolution. Nonetheless, over the years this minimalist view has attracted some criticism, among other things because of its focus on computation, its detachment from communication, or its claim that language might have appeared as a result of one (or a few) gene mutations.

The goal of this Research Topic is to revisit this minimalist approach to the biology of language, at a moment when the Minimalist Program is close to reaching a quarter of a century of life. The focus will be put on four interrelated aspects: language evolution in the species, language development in the child, language implementation in the brain, and language disorders in present-day human populations. Contributions are expected to discuss whether the minimalist approach is a good/the best approach to key questions in modern (bio)linguistics, like when and how language evolved, how the brain processes language, how language unfolds in the child, and how language is perturbed in clinical conditions. Nonetheless, related research questions broadly addressing the biology of language under a minimalist view (either supportive or sceptic) will be welcome. Because of the complex nature of the topic, researchers from different fields are welcome to contribute to this Research Topic, including linguists, psychologists, ethologists, primatologists, biologists, anthropologists, cognitive scientists, archaeologists, and more.


Keywords: Minimalist Program, cognition, communication, language evolution, language disorders, language development, neurolinguistics, psycolinguistics, biolinguistics


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31 July 2019 Manuscript

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Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 July 2019 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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