Cognition and Communication in the Evolution of Language
This book proposes a new two-step approach to the evolution of language, whereby syntax first evolved as an auto-organizational process for the human conceptual apparatus (as a Language of Thought), and this Language of Thought was then externalized for communication, due to social selection pressures. Anne Reboul first argues that despite the routine use of language in communication, current use is not a failsafe guide to adaptive history. She points out that human cognition is as unique in nature as is language as a communication system, suggesting deep links between human thought and language. If language is seen as a communication system, then the specificities of language, its hierarchical syntax, its creativity, and the ability to use it to talk about absent objects, are a mystery. This book shows that approaching language as a system for thought overcomes these problems, and provides a detailed account of both steps in the evolution of language: its evolution for thought and its externalization for communication.
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ability Additionally altruism animal communication systems apes argue argument basic level behaviour birds Boeckx brain categorical perception category targets Chapter chimpanzees clearly complex concepts conceptual apparatuses constraints context-dependent Conversational Implicatures discrete infinity evolution of language evolutionary evolved example exapted exemplars exo-skeletal externalized fact Fodor fully propositional functional lexicon given Grice hearer hence hoc concept hominin hunter-gatherer implicit communication intention Kanzi language evolution Language of Thought lexical items linguistic linguistic communication linked logical form Machery meaningNN Millikan’s mirror neurons modern humans monkeys mutualistic natural selection Neanderthals Neo-Gricean non-human Note notion objects orangutans participants Pinker pragmatic interpretation present primates primitive concepts problem proposed Prototype Theory prototypes PURPLE APPLE question reasoning relative result Sapir–Whorf hypothesis Section seems semantic semantic underdetermination sentence meaning shared signals social speaker meaning species Sperber and Wilson strong sense strongly decoupled superordinate syntax theory of language Tomasello underdetermination utterance visual field words