We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Rent from DeepDyve Rent from DeepDyve

Recursion in Pragmatics

From: Language
Volume 89, Number 1, March 2013
pp. 149-162 | 10.1353/lan.2013.0005



There has been a recent spate of work on recursion as a central design feature of language. This short report points out that there is little evidence that unlimited recursion, understood as center-embedding, is typical of natural language syntax. Nevertheless, embedded pragmatic construals seem available in every language. Further, much deeper center-embedding can be found in dialogue or conversation structure than can be found in syntax. Existing accounts for the 'performance' limitations on center-embedding are thus thrown into doubt. Dialogue materials suggest that center-embedding is perhaps a core part of the human interaction system, and is for some reason much more highly restricted in syntax than in other aspects of cognition.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.