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Demonstrations of infants' and toddlers' long-term memory have involved their repeating motor activities that they had seen or done earlier, such as reaching in the dark for objects, putting a bottle in a doll's mouth, or pulling apart two pieces of a toy. The brain's level of physiological maturation may support these types of memories, but not ones requiring explicit verbal descriptions.

Does the quote "but not ones requiring explicit verbal descriptions." mean memorizing these motor actions does not need verbal description or does the author convey this hypothesis has no concrete evidence?

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    ...but [the brain's level of physiological maturation] does not support the types of memories that require explicit verbal descriptions. Jan 24, 2023 at 15:36
  • In other words, babies can remember actions they learned earlier but not things that have to be put into words. Jan 24, 2023 at 16:38

2 Answers 2

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This is an example of ellipsis (see Wikipedia). It can be rephrased as follows:

The brain's level of physiological maturation may support these types of memories. But the brain's level of physiological maturation does not support ones [i.e., memories] requiring explicit verbal descriptions.

Edit: "Ones" is not the ellipsis. The ellipsis is the omission of "the brain's level of physiological maturation" and "support" after the conjunction

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    That’s not ellipsis; ones is a pronoun with the antecedent noun memories. Jan 24, 2023 at 15:02
  • @TinfoilHat "ones" is not the ellipsis. The ellipsis is the omission of "the brain's level of physiological maturation does" and "support" after the conjunction.
    – alphabet
    Jan 24, 2023 at 16:06
  • (The comma in the original makes it clear that these are intended to be read as two separate independent clauses, so ellipsis explains why part of the second clause is omitted.)
    – alphabet
    Jan 24, 2023 at 16:15
  • "Ellipsis" is not a technical term; it just means "something's missing". This particular deletion is called Conjunction Reduction, because it requires a conjunction like but and parallel structure on both sides. Jan 24, 2023 at 16:23
  • @JohnLawler Ellipsis is used as a technical term in linguistics; as e.g. this article explains, conjunction reduction is considered a type of ellipsis.
    – alphabet
    Jan 24, 2023 at 16:34
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The verb phrase is the key, once you fill in the blanks:

may support [these types of memories],
but (may) not (support) [[ones]
[requiring explicit verbal descriptions]]

This is straightforward Conjunction Reduction, deleting may and support after but. Clearly the pronoun ones refers back to these types of memories, expanding to memories that require explicit verbal descriptions, which are by assertion not the same types of memories as these types.

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