The Social Origins of Language

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9780199665327: The Social Origins of Language

This book offers an exciting new perspective on the origins of language. Language is conceptualized as a collective invention, on the model of writing or the wheel, and the book places social and cultural dynamics at the centre of its evolution: language emerged and further developed in human communities already suffused with meaning and communication, mimesis, ritual, song and dance, alloparenting, new divisions of labour and revolutionary changes in social relations. The book thus challenges assumptions about the causal relations between genes, capacities, social communication and innovation: the biological capacities are taken to evolve incrementally on the basis of cognitive plasticity, in a process that recruits previous adaptations and fine-tunes them to serve novel communicative ends. Topics include the ability brought about by language to tell lies, that must have confronted our ancestors with new problems of public trust; the dynamics of social-cognitive co-evolution; the role of gesture and mimesis in linguistic communication; studies of how monkeys and apes express their feelings or thoughts; play, laughter, dance, song, ritual and other social displays among extant hunter-gatherers; the social nature of language acquisition and innovation; normativity and the emergence of linguistic norms; the interaction of language and emotions; and novel perspectives on the time-frame for language evolution. The contributors are leading international scholars from linguistics, anthropology, palaeontology, primatology, psychology, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, archaeology, and cognitive science.

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About the Author:

Daniel Dor has a PhD in Linguistics from Stanford University, and is Senior Lecturer in Communication at Tel Aviv University. His main interest lies in the development of a theory of language as a communication technology. Together with Eva Jablonka, he has written extensively on the evolution of language. In a different (but related) domain, Dor has published books and articles on the role of the media, and its language, in the construction of political hegemony. His Intifada Hits the Headlines was chosen as book of the year 2004 in communication by Choice Magazine.

Chris Knight was for many years Professor of Anthropology at the University of East London, although he is now retired. Best known for his 1991 book, Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture, he co-founded the Evolution of Language (EVOLANG) series of international conferences and has published widely on the evolutionary emergence of language and symbolic culture.

Jerome Lewis lectures in Social Anthropology at University College London and co-directs the Hunter-Gatherer Resilience Project, the Extreme Citizen Science Research Group and UCL's Environment Institute. His research focuses on Pygmy hunter-gatherers and former hunter-gatherers in Central Africa. Current research focuses on communication and cultural transmission in egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies.

Contenuti:

  • 1: Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis: Introduction: A social perspective on how language began
  • PART 1 Theoretical Foundations
  • 2: Daniel Dor and Eva Jablonka: Why we need to move from gene-culture co-evolution to culturally-driven co-evolution
  • 3: Chris Sinha: Niche construction and semiosis: Biocultural and social dynamics
  • 4: Camilla Power: Signal evolution and the social brain
  • 5: Sverker Johansson: How can a social theory of language evolution be grounded in evidence?
  • PART 2 Language as a Collective Object
  • 6: Adam Kendon: The 'poly-modalic' nature of utterances and its relevance for inquiring into language origins
  • 7: Jerome Lewis: BaYaka Pygmy multi-modal and mimetic communication traditions
  • 8: Nick J. Enfield and Jack Sidnell: Language presupposes an enchronic infrastructure for social interaction
  • 9: Daniel Dor: The instruction of imagination: Language and its evolution as a communication technology
  • PART 3 Apes and People, Past and Present
  • 10: Simone Pika: Chimpanzee grooming gestures and sounds: What might they tell us about how language evolved?
  • 11: Zanna Clay and Klaus Zuberbühler: Vocal communication and social awareness in chimpanzees and bonobos
  • 12: Charles Whitehead: Why humans and not apes: The social preconditions for the emergence of language
  • 13: Emily Wyman: Language and collective fiction: From children's pretence to social institutions
  • 14: Dan Dediu and Stephen C. Levinson: The time frame of the emergence of modern language and its implications
  • 15: Camilla Power: The evolution of ritual as a process of sexual selection
  • 16: Ian Watts: The red thread: Pigment use and the evolution of collective ritual
  • 17: Chris Knight: Language and symbolic culture: An outcome of hunter-gatherer reverse dominance
  • PART 4 The Social Origins of Language
  • 18: Jordan Zlatev: The co-evolution of human intersubjectivity, morality, and language
  • 19: Ehud Lamm: Forever united: The co-evolution of language and normativity
  • 20: Jean-Louis Dessalles: Why talk?
  • 21: Chris Knight and Jerome Lewis: Vocal deception, laughter, and the linguistic significance of reverse dominance
  • PART 5 The Journey Thereafter
  • 22: Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka: Memory, imagination, and the evolution of modern language
  • 23: Nick J. Enfield: Transmission biases in the cultural evolution of language: Towards an explanatory framework
  • 24: Luc Steels: Breaking down false barriers to understanding

Le informazioni nella sezione "Su questo libro" possono far riferimento a edizioni diverse di questo titolo.

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Chris Knight, Danny Dor, Jerome Lewis
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ISBN 10: 019966532X ISBN 13: 9780199665327
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