[CNL] Discussion of Fitch (2018) on 'What animals can teach us about human language: the phonological continuity hypothesis'
Fitch (2018) in Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences - What animals can teach us about human language: the phonological continuity hypothesis
Progress in linking between the disparate levels of cognitive description and neural implementation requires explicit, testable, computationally based hypotheses. One such hypothesis is the dendrophilia hypothesis, which suggests that human syntactic abilities rely on our supra-regular computational abilities, implemented via an auxiliary memory store (a ‘stack’) centred on Broca’s region via its connections with other cortical areas. Because linguistic phonology requires less powerful computational abilities than this, at the finite-state level, I suggest that there may be continuity between animal rule learning and human phonology, and that the circuits underlying this provided the precursors of our unusual syntactic abilities.