Elisa Pellegrino

Investigations on the referential status of biolinguistics. A comparative overview of publications and lexicography

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In the last ten years ongoing attention has been paid to the study of language structure, acquisition and evolution from a biolinguistic perspective. As a consequence, since the late Nineties many articles and books on biolinguistics started to be published, and many conferences on the same topic have been organized. The widespread and recent interest towards biolinguistics induce to wonder about the true and actual meaning of the term itself. In particular it is crucial to determine whether the term "biolinguistics" is currently being used to designate a new approach to the study of language which developed in the late Nineties (together with the editorial "boom" on biolinguistics), i.e. a well-established paradigm of linguistic research, or just a neighbouring discipline of linguistics. The present research provides the answer to this question. The comparison between the data drawn from recent publications and those coming from lexicography indicates that biolinguistics is an umbrella term encompassing both generative grammar and all the disciplines concerned with the bio-neurological basis of language and with the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of language.


  • biolinguistics
  • generative grammar
  • lexical ambiguity


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