The Social Origins of Language

Paperback | July 26, 2014

EditorDaniel Dor, Chris Knight, JEROME LEWIS

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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 humancommunities 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 andinnovation: 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 theirfeelings 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 thetime-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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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 humancommunities already suffused with meaning an...

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) ...

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The Social Origins of Language
The Social Origins of Language

Hardcover|Jul 26 2014

$189.00

Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.02 inPublished:July 26, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199665338

ISBN - 13:9780199665334

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Table of Contents

1. Daniel Dor, Chris Knight, and Jerome Lewis: Introduction: A social perspective on how language beganPART 1 Theoretical Foundations2. Daniel Dor and Eva Jablonka: Why we need to move from gene-culture co-evolution to culturally-driven co-evolution3. Chris Sinha: Niche construction and semiosis: Biocultural and social dynamics4. Camilla Power: Signal evolution and the social brain5. Sverker Johansson: How can a social theory of language evolution be grounded in evidence?PART 2 Language as a Collective Object6. Adam Kendon: The 'poly-modalic' nature of utterances and its relevance for inquiring into language origins7. Jerome Lewis: BaYaka Pygmy multi-modal and mimetic communication traditions8. Nick J. Enfield and Jack Sidnell: Language presupposes an enchronic infrastructure for social interaction9. Daniel Dor: The instruction of imagination: Language and its evolution as a communication technologyPART 3 Apes and People, Past and Present10. Simone Pika: Chimpanzee grooming gestures and sounds: What might they tell us about how language evolved?11. Zanna Clay and Klaus Zuberbuhler: Vocal communication and social awareness in chimpanzees and bonobos12. Charles Whitehead: Why humans and not apes: The social preconditions for the emergence of language13. Emily Wyman: Language and collective fiction: From children's pretence to social institutions14. Dan Dediu and Stephen C. Levinson: The time frame of the emergence of modern language and its implications15. Camilla Power: The evolution of ritual as a process of sexual selection16. Ian Watts: The red thread: Pigment use and the evolution of collective ritual17. Chris Knight: Language and symbolic culture: An outcome of hunter-gatherer reverse dominancePART 4 The Social Origins of Language18. Jordan Zlatev: The co-evolution of human intersubjectivity, morality, and language19. Ehud Lamm: Forever united: The co-evolution of language and normativity20. Jean-Louis Dessalles: Why talk?21. Chris Knight and Jerome Lewis: Vocal deception, laughter, and the linguistic significance of reverse dominancePART 5 The Journey Thereafter22. Simona Ginsburg and Eva Jablonka: Memory, imagination, and the evolution of modern language23. Nick J. Enfield: Transmission biases in the cultural evolution of language: Towards an explanatory framework24. Luc Steels: Breaking down false barriers to understanding