What Complexity Differences Reveal About Domains in Language*

Authors


Correspondence should be sent to Jeffrey Heinz, Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware, 125 E. Main Street, Newark, DE 19716. E-mail: heinz@udel.edu

Abstract

An important distinction between phonology and syntax has been overlooked. All phonological patterns belong to the regular region of the Chomsky Hierarchy, but not all syntactic patterns do. We argue that the hypothesis that humans employ distinct learning mechanisms for phonology and syntax currently offers the best explanation for this difference.

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