Recursion as a common groung of mental, communicative, and linguistic processes

Anna Filip, Arkadiusz Białek, Marta Białecka-Pikul


For nearly twenty years there has been an ongoing debate in international journals concerning the recursiveness of human mental processes. The main instigator of the debate and at the same time the main exponent of the term “recursion” is Noam Chomsky. According to him, recursion is an exclusive property of the syntax of the so-called “internal language of mind” (I-language). This conclusion has been contested by researchers claiming that recursion can also be observed in: communication, theory of mind, the syntax of complementation, or pragmatics. The article presents some arguments in favor of understanding recursion as a common ground of all the above phenomena as long as they are analyzed from a developmental perspective, with the dynamics and sequentiality of the constantly occurring processes and changes taken into account.


recursion; theory of mind; syntax; pragmatics; development

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