Behavioral and Brain Sciences


Short Communication

A shrug is not a sentence


Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy a1

a1 Department of Linguistics, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand andrew.carstairs-mccarthy@canterbury.ac.nz www.ling.canterbury.ac.nz/

Abstract

Corballis's claim that the origin of syntax lies in solely gesture is contested. His scenario does not explain why constraints on syntactic “movement” are apparently part of the human biological endowment for language. It also does not pay enough attention to the internal structure of sentences, and how they contrast with other linguistic units such as noun phrases.