Big Question 2
What are the characteristics and consequences of internal brain organization for language?
The human brain provides a neurobiological infrastructure that allows us to acquire and process language, and that co-determines the characteristics of spoken (and sign) and written language. The internal organization of the brain and its cognitive architecture both determine and constrain the space of possibilities for human language. This internal organization can be called the Kantian brain for language. It has resulted in a language-readiness of the human brain that is found nowhere else in the animal kingdom. The big question is to characterize the Kantian brain for language. This question has two sides: (i) what is the internal brain organization that supports language? (ii) in what way did speech and language adapt their characteristics to the intrinsic organization of the human brain (the quest for language universals)? In this proposal we will mainly focus on the internal brain organization for language (i.e. aspect (i) of the overarching question).
Hans Rutger Bosker
Floris de Lange
Jan Mathijs Schoffelen