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Bill on pattern recognition in primates

July 22, 2021 Linguistics

Professor Bill Idsardi, sitting down in a conference room, looking towards the right with a bemused grin

Evidence that nonhuman animals could handle phonology does not extend to syntax.

Now in Science Advances, a journal of the American Academy of Sciences, a "Comment on “Nonadjacent dependency processing in monkeys, apes, and humans” from Jonathan Rawski and Jeffrey Heinz of Stony Brook University, with Bill Idsardi. The authors "comment on the technical interpretation of the study of [Stuart] Watson et al. and caution against their conclusion that the behavioral evidence in their experiments points to nonhuman animals’ ability to learn syntactic dependencies, because their results are also consistent with the learning of phonological dependencies in human languages."