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Time, language and flexibility of the mind: The role of mental time travel in linguistic comprehension and production

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Abstract:

According to Chomsky, creativity is a critical property of human language, particularly the aspect of “the creative use of language” concerning the appropriateness to a situation. How language can be creative but appropriate to a situation is an unsolvable mystery from the Chomskyan point of view. We propose that language appropriateness can be explained by considering the role of the human capacity for Mental Time Travel at its foundation, together with social and ecological intelligences within a triadic language-grounding system. Our proposal is based on the change of perspective from the analysis of individual sentences to the flux of speech in which the temporal dimension of language is much more relevant.
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