Minimal Computation and the Architecture of Language

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8 Scopus citations


The article argues that humans are endowed with an inborn language faculty. The 'Basic Property' of language is defined as a finitely-specified procedure represented in the brain, which generates a discrete infinity of hierarchically structured expressions. These unordered structures are linked to two interfaces: (i) the sensorimotor interface and (ii) the conceptual-intentional interface. The sensorimotor interface externalizes and linearizes internal structures, usually in the sound modality. Externalization and linearization account for the structural diversity of the world's languages. Human language did not evolve from simpler communication systems. The available evidence suggests that language is primarily an instrument of thought, not of communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-24
Number of pages12
JournalChinese Semiotic Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • 'Basic Property'
  • function of language
  • inborn language faculty
  • origin of language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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