Manual The Origins of Language: A Slim Guide

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Some details of this outline may change as a result of circumstances such as weather cancellations, College and student activities, and class timetabling. Recommended Reading: Anderson, Stephen R. Languages: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Facts on File, Comrie, Bernard. The World's Major Languages.

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Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning, Frideres, James S. First Nations in the Twenty-First Century. Harrison, David K. Hurford, James R. The Origins of Language: A slim guide.


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The Myth of Language Universals at Birth

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Jul 25, Eric Cullen rated it liked it. Don't let the page length of this book fool you. It's very in depth and informal. Most of the concepts were over my head and I will re-read this at some point.

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I am fascinated with language and it's origins. We don't study it enough or know enough of why we say what we say or know enough about evolutionary anthropology altogether. Oct 04, Beth rated it liked it. Accessible and interesting, and covers the topic well. A short but relatively slow read: some parts seem to ramble a bit, and the writing often seems dense. A good and brief introduction to the evolution of language.

I would say it's fairly light reading and entertaining for non-linguists who are interested in this area. Randall Pack rated it it was amazing Aug 20, Why do humans alone have a unique disposition to reveal their thoughts in complex detail? Professor Hurford searches a wide range of evidence for the answers to these central questions, including degrees of trust, the role of hormones, the ability to read minds, and the willingness to cooperate.

Expressing himself congenially in consistently colloquial language the author builds up a vivid picture of how mind, language, and meaning evolved over millions of years. His book is a landmark contribution to the understanding of linguistic and thinking processes, and the fullest account yet published of the evolution of language and communication. Let's Agree on Terms 2. Animals Approach Human Cognition 3. A New Kind of Memory Evolves 4. Animals Form proto-propositions 5.

Communication by Dyadic Acts 7. Going Triadic: Precursors of Reference 8. Why Communicate? Squaring With Evolutionary Theory 9. Cooperation, Fair Play and Trust in Primates Proto-propositions PDF. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Evolution of Language, pages , Before the evolution of languages as public conventional communication systems, pre-humans had somewhat complex private mental schemes for representing the external world.

What is known about human and some animal vision suggests that proposition-like cognitive structures existed What is known about human and some animal vision suggests that proposition-like cognitive structures existed for the mental representation of perceived scenes before the advent of complex language. The structures traditionally adopted by formal Logic can be modified to conform to known constraints on the visual representation of scenes.

While this modification slightly reduces the expressive power of representations in that the meanings of some complex sentences cannot naturally be represented , it provides a unified, ontologically parsimonious, primitive notation for cognitive representations, suitable for later recruitment by complex syntactic language.

Origins of Language: A Slim Guide - James R. Hurford - Google книги

The most basic semantic elements later mapped onto sentences are all present in the prelinguistic mental representation, which reflects the workings of the visual attention system. The last quarter of the 20th century saw a surge in research in the evolution of language, and this activity continues to grow and extend its influence in the present century. This article is a personal review of some conclusions that can be deemed to have been established in This article is a personal review of some conclusions that can be deemed to have been established in that period.

Many of these modern conclusions had ancient precursors as speculative hypotheses with little empirical backing. Modern empirical research in a range of fields has driven foundations deeper, and careful theoretical work has begun to weave a more consistent network of ideas across disciplines.

Many mysteries remain, but some clear outlines of the evolutionary bases of humans? Often the clearer outlines have revealed more complex problems than was vaguely suspected earlier. Three propositions have been selected here, and each will be briefly discussed in a separate section. The three propositions are: 'Language' is not a single monolithic behaviour; Animals have rich conceptual systems; Primates are not necessarily the closest to human-like capacities.

Human uniqueness, learned symbols and recursive thought doi. Human language is qualitatively different from animal communication systems in at least two separate ways. Human languages contain tens of thousands of arbitrary learned symbols mainly words. No other animal communication system involves learning the component symbolic elements No other animal communication system involves learning the component symbolic elements afresh in each individual's lifetime, and certainly not in such vast numbers. Human language also has complex compositional syntax. The meanings of our sentences are composed from the meanings of the constituent parts e. This is obvious to us, but no other animal communication system with honeybees as an odd but distracting exception puts messages together in this way. A recent theoretical claim that the sole distinguishing feature of human language is recursion is discussed, and related to these features of learned symbols and compositional syntax. It is argued that recursive thought could have existed in prelinguistic hominids, and that the key step to language was the innovative disposition to learn massive numbers of arbitrary symbols.

And, I would add, we must also take care to analyze properly the nature of language itself. Several recent papers Rizzolatti and Arbib, ; Arbib, , suggest that the discovery of mirror neurons helps us to understand in more detail how human language Vision and audition research in primates and humans shows two independent neural pathways; one locates objects in body-centered space, the other attributes properties, Why Synonymy is Rare: Fitness is in the Speaker doi.

Pure synonymy is rare. By contrast, homonymy is common in languages. Human avoidance of synonymy is plausibly innate, as theorists of differing persuasions have claimed. Innate dispositions to synonymy and homonymy are modelled here, in relation to alternative roles of speaking Innate dispositions to synonymy and homonymy are modelled here, in relation to alternative roles of speaking and hearing in determining fitness.

In the computer model, linguistic signs are acquired via different genetically determined strategies, variously in tolerant to synonymy or homonymy. The model defines communicative success as the probability of a speaker getting a message across to a hearer; interpretive success is the probability of a hearer correctly interpreting a speaker's signal.