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Journal Article

Processing local transitions versus long-distance syntactic hierarchies


Friederici,  Angela D.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Friederici, A. D. (2004). Processing local transitions versus long-distance syntactic hierarchies. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 8(6), 245-247. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2004.04.013.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-D275-5
A recent study by Fitch and Hauser reported that finite-state grammars can be learned by non-human primates, whereas phrase-structure grammars cannot. Humans, by contrast, learn both grammars easily. This species difference is taken as the critical juncture in the evolution of the human language faculty. Given the far-reaching relevance of this conclusion, the question arises as to whether the distinction between these two types of grammars finds its reflection in different neural systems within the human brain.