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  • 1.
    Johansson, Sverker
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Media, Literature and Language Didactics.
    Biolinguistics or Physicolinguistics? Is The Third Factor Helpful Or Harmful In Explaining Language?2013In: Biolinguistics, ISSN 1450-3417, Vol. 7, p. 249-275Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Noam Chomsky (2005) proposed that a ‘third factor’, consisting of general principles and natural laws, may explain core properties of language in a principled manner, minimizing the need for either genetic endowment or experience. But the focus on third-factor patterns in much recent bio-linguistic work is misguided for several reasons: First, ‘the’ third factor is a vague and disparate collection of unrelated components, useless as an analytical tool. Second, the vagueness of the third factor, together with the desire for principled explanations, too often leads to sweeping claims, such as syntax “coming for free, directly from physics”, that are unwarranted without a case-by-case causal analysis. Third, attention is diverted away from a proper causal analysis of language as a biological feature. The point with biolinguistics is to acknowledge the language faculty as a biological feature. The best way forward towards an understanding of language is to take the biology connection seriously, instead of dabbling with physics.

  • 2.
    Johansson, Sverker
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Media, Literature and Language Didactics.
    Neanderthals between Man and Beast: A Comment on the Comments of Barceló-Coblijn & Benítez-Burraco (2013)2013In: Biolinguistics, ISSN 1450-3417, Vol. 7, p. 217-227Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 3.
    Johansson, Sverker
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, School Based Research, Media, Literature and Language Didactics.
    The Talking Neanderthals: What do Fossils, Genetics and Archeology Say?2013In: Biolinguistics, ISSN 1450-3417, Vol. 7, p. 035-074Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Did Neanderthals have language? This issue has been debated back and forth for decades, without resolution. But in recent years new evidence has become available. New fossils and archeological finds cast light on relevant Neanderthal anatomy and behavior. New DNA evidence, both fossil and modern, provides clues both to the relationship between Neanderthals and Homo sapiens, and to the genetics of language. In this paper, I review and evaluate the available evidence. My conclusion is that the preponderance of the evidence supports the presence of some form of language in Neanderthals.

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