Language Origins: Perspectives on Evolution (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)

Language Origins: Perspectives on Evolution (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)

Language: English

Pages: 446

ISBN: 0199279047

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This book addresses central questions in the evolution of language: where it came from; how and why it evolved; how it came to be culturally transmitted; and how languages diversified. It does so from the perspective of the lateste work in linguistics, neuroscience, psychology, and computer science, and deploys the latest methods and theories toe probe into the origins and subsequent development of thee only species that has languages.

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for that, I will always be grateful. Finally, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to my husband, S. J. Hannahs, whose love, support, interest in the intricacies of language evolution, and generosity with his time have enabled me to cope in the darkest of hours. Maggie Tallerman Durham, September 2004 List of Figures 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 4.10 4.11 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 9.1 11.1 Contrasting Chomsky’s Minimalism with a performance viewpoint A comparative side view

evolutionary model for a two-nucleus sentence: a branching nucleus (such as a diphthong) in which one element is dependent on the other is not a possible model for auxiliary þ lexical verb, since crucially, the two elements in a diphthong are not structured into anything like a ‘tense-marking’ and an ‘argument-taking’ element. And Wve: whilst auxiliaries and verbs are frequently separated, the elements within a branching nucleus cannot in any case be separated so that each would occur in a

appear in languages in which the constituent in immediate preverbal position is in some way special. CM illustrates (1999: 160) from Hungarian, in which a focalized constituent occupies this preverbal slot. It is not controversial that preverbal position can be privileged in various ways. However, the parallel with syllable structure is not maintained. The problem is that there is always only one onset to the syllable—an onset may be complex, but there is still only one per syllable. Therefore

syllabic model is developed further in Tallerman (forthcoming). 7 The potential role of production in the evolution of syntax Dana McDaniel 7.1 Introduction This account of the evolution of language is very much in line with accounts such as Bickerton (2000), Calvin and Bickerton (2000), and JackendoV (2002) which posit a protolanguage with some of the characteristics of modern human language; see also Tallerman, Chapter 6. The primary contribution of the current chapter lies in the suggested

experiment will establish this. Imagine an alternative world in which the behaviour and distribution in sentences of all minimal linguistic items (all morphemes, one could say), both bound and free, can uncontroversially be described in terms of a single uniform set of grammatical principles (phrase structure and movement rules, ‘Merge’, or whatever). Would it occur to linguists in this world to wonder why no more than one set of principles was needed? That would be rather as if some linguist in

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