Behavioral and Brain Sciences



Open Peer Commentary
Clahsen: Rules of language

Dissociation between regular and irregular in connectionist architectures: Two processes, but still no special linguistic rules


Marco Zorzi a1 and Gabriella Vigliocco a2
a1 Department of General Psychology, University of Padua, 35131 Padua, Italy mzorzi@psico.unipd.it www.psychol.ucl.ac.uk/marco.zorzi/marco.html
a2 Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706 gviglioc@facstaff.wisc.edu http://psych.wisc.edu/faculty/pages/gvigliocco/gv.html

Abstract

Dual-mechanism models of language maintain a distinction between a lexicon and a computational system of linguistic rules. In his target article, Clahsen provides support for such a distinction, presenting evidence from German inflections. He argues for a structured lexicon, going beyond the strict lexicon versus rules dichotomy. We agree with the author in assuming a dual mechanism; however, we argue that a next step must be taken, going beyond the notion of the computational system as specific rules applying to a linguistic domain. By assuming a richer lexicon, the computational system can be conceived as a more general binding process that applies to different linguistic levels: syntax, morphology, reading, and spelling.