What’s in (a) Label? Neural Origins and Behavioral Manifestations of Identity Avoidance in Language and Cognition
Evelina Leivada
January 2018

The present work defends the idea that grammatical categories are not intrinsic to mergeable items, taking as a departure point Lenneberg’s (1967, 1975) claim that syntactic objects are definable only contextually. It is argued that there are four different strands of inquiry that are of interest when one seeks to build an evolutionarily plausible theory of labels and operation Label: (i) linguistic constraints on adjacent elements of the same type such as Repetition/Identity Avoidance ([*XX]), (ii) data that flout these constraints ([XX]), (iii) disorders that raise questions as to whether the locus of impairment is a categorial feature per se, and (iv) operation Label as a candidate for human uniqueness. After discussing categorial identity through these perspectives, this work first traces the origins and manifestations of Identity Avoidance in language and other domains of human cognition, with emphasis on attention orienting. Second, it proposes a new processing principle, the Novel Information Bias, that (i) captures linguistic Identity Avoidance based on how the brain decodes types and tokens and (ii) explains the universal fact that generally the existence of adjacent occurrences of syntactically and/or phonologically identical tokens is severely constrained.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003798
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Biolinguistics
keywords: attention; categories; label; repetition avoidance/blindness, morphology, syntax, phonology
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