du.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Separating chicken and eggs with ostensive-inferential communication
Dalarna University, Not School affiliated.
2019 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

“Who did the first speaker talk with?” is a classic chicken-and-egg argument against the Darwinian evolution of language, still occasionally heard as an argument for non-communicative language origins. Various language-origins scenarios solve the problem in different ways. But I will argue that ancestral ostensive-inferential communication provides a general solution, insensitive to scenario details.

Apes use communicative gestures intentionally and likely ostensively (Moore 2016; pace Scott-Phillips 2015), and interpret each other’s gestures accordingly. Such proto-ostensive-inferential abilities in proto-humans will handle new expressive abilities in “speakers” without requiring simultaneous changes in “listeners”, thus relaxing chicken-and-egg constraints on language evolution.

Dendrophilia (Fitch 2014), if evolved for non-linguistic hierarchic-processing purposes, may similarly help bootstrapping the final step from proto-language to modern language.

Chicken-and-egg is a problem for language evolution only if communication is a coding-decoding process. Ostensive-inferential communication can handle substantial mismatches between speakers and hearers, separating chicken from eggs.

 

Fitch, W Tecumseh (2014) Toward a computational framework for cognitive biology: unifying approaches from cognitive neuroscience and comparative cognition. Phys Life Reviews 11:329-364

Moore, Richard (2016) Meaning and ostension in great ape gestural communication. Animal Cognition 19:223-231.

Scott-Phillips, T C (2015) Meaning in animal and human communication. Animal Cognition 18:801-805.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Intercultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-32576OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-32576DiVA, id: diva2:1426917
Conference
Ways to Protolanguage 5
Available from: 2020-04-28 Created: 2020-04-28 Last updated: 2020-05-04Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(148 kB)1 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 148 kBChecksum SHA-512
110a67d435a190aba9e65187b1ad96ca5181ddc7ae77af8e8d37708f05187b815fa10b51937a370fdfb1931a76bb353c1f7f1a060463b0cab96f97cb0d1be340
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Authority records BETA

Johansson, Sverker

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Johansson, Sverker
By organisation
Not School affiliated
General Language Studies and Linguistics

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 1 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 1 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf