Music and the Language Prototype in a Venn Diagram

11 June, 2015
The Language Prototype defines a subset of the Universal Set of All Possible External Stimuli which (mostly) contains within it any actual spoken language. Music is also contained within the Language Prototype, and is distinct from any spoken language.

The Universe of External Stimuli

First there is the universal set of all possible external stimuli.

The Language Prototype

Contained within this set is the Language Prototype, which consists of all "speech-like" sound patterns (and also some gestures).

The Native Language

The Language Prototype is the prototype for learning the infant's first language. It pre-classifies all external stimuli as either language or not-language, so that the infant can immediately start to learn language as a category of stimuli that have their own structure and rules, which must be learned as a set of structures and rules somewhat distinct from those that govern all other observable aspects of reality.

The native language might not be completely contained inside the language prototype.

But as long as the native language is mostly inside the Language Prototype, that will be enough for the infant brain to recognise the native language for what it is – and eventually the infant learner will recognise that those parts of the native language lying outside the prototype are indeed part of the native language.


And then, finally, there is Music.

Music is contained totally within the Language Prototype, and is disjoint from actual languages (ie actual spoken language is not musical).

Music is defined by whatever rules define the Language Prototype, and by one simple additional rule. (This rule is something like: constant patterns of activity and inactivity in cortical regions involved in perceiving the language prototype.)

Caveat: Diagrams Not To Scale

If area is taken to be indicative of number of elements in a set, then none of these sets are drawn to scale: