Recursion: A Computational Investigation into the Representation and Processing of Language

ISBN : 9780198785156

David J. Lobina
256 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
Oxford Studies in Biolinguistics
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This book provides a comprehensive account of the role of recursion in language in two distinct but interconnected ways. First, David J. Lobina examines how recursion applies at different levels within a full description of natural language. Specifically, he identifies and evaluates recursion as: a) a central property of the computational system underlying the faculty of language; b) a possible feature of the derivations yielded by this computational system; c) a global characteristic of the structures generated by the language faculty; and d) a probable factor in the parsing operations employed during the processing of recursive structures. Second, the volume orders these different levels into a tripartite explanatory framework. According to this framework, the investigation of any particular cognitive domain must begin by first outlining what sort of mechanical procedure underlies the relevant capacity (including what sort of structures it generates). Only then, the author argues, can we properly investigate its implementation, both at the level of abstract computations typical of competence-level analyses, and at the level of the real-time processing of behaviour.


Putting up barriers
1 Preliminaries
2 Recursive generation in language
3 The derivations into the interfaces
4 The universality and uniqueness of recursion-in-language
5 On recursive parsing
6 Probing recursion
Putting it all together

About the author: 

David J. Lobina is a Juan de la Cierva fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona. He holds a PhD in cognitive science and language from the University of Barcelona and the University of Rovira i Virgili, and is a former Marie Curie fellow in the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford. He specializes in the philosophies of cognitive science and psychology, in psycholinguistics, and in theoretical linguistics.

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