I study what it is about human minds that allows us to speak to each other and to understand each other and this is interesting because that gives us a real leg up in finding out how the mind works. I do this by looking at things that are the same for all humans in the the ways that they talk and understand, and by seeing what is different. It turns out that there is a lot that is the same, especially in the way that words are put together to build meaning. Why is this? The answer, I think, is that the mind of a human child, from when the child comes into being, already has a set of deep ideas in it that the child uses to help figure out what is going on when people around it talk. these deep ideas are the same for all humans. One such idea is that a set of words spoken by someone is not just one word after the other but it is really, in the mind, made up of smaller groups of words and that we humans can in fact never understand a set of words spoken one after the other except as being made up of such groups. The ways that these groups are formed is called ‘syntax’ and is what is used by people to turn meaning into sound or sound into meaning. This is why – the cat bit the dog – and – the dog bit the cat – don’t have the same meaning, even though they have the same words in them. I am interested in finding out how the groups are formed, how they build meaning, and how they are ordered. That will help us explain how humans make meaning and how we are able to talk to and understand each other.