Putting It All Together: The Language-Brain-Genes Loop

  • Ljiljana ProgovacEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Linguistics book series (SBIL)


Relying on the proposals and discussions in the first three chapters, in Sect. 4.2 I consider how a specific sexual selection scenario for the emergence of (simple) syntax would have affected and started to solidify the genetic foundation for language, addressing directly the language-genes dimension. Section 4.3 reports on the recent genetic developments and discoveries, of direct relevance to brain evolution, addressing the brain-gene dimension. Section 4.4 reports on the results of some specific neuroimaging experiments designed to test the role of the brain in the processing of simpler (fossil) vs. more complex syntax, engaging the language-brain dimension, in the light of evolution. The goal of this chapter is to make it clear that evolution (via selection) is a force which can bring these three dimensions together, and most probably the only force that can achieve that. Finally, with all this in mind, Sect. 4.5 returns to the question of whether other species, such as Neanderthals, may have had some form of language, and provides a fragment of the type of language that it would have been. Section 4.6 concludes this monograph.


fMRI experiments FOXP2 gene Genetics of language Neanderthals and other hominins Neuroscience of language Sexual selection 


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© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Linguistics DepartmentWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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