Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

The origin of language as a product of the evolution of modern cognition

Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms - Bernard Laks

Gilles Fauconnier
University of California San Diego
Joan Turner [+-]
Goldsmith’s College
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Joan Turner supervises research students in applied linguistics and education and works on PhD writing with doctoral students across the university, who are in the final stages of their PhD. Her research interests relate to language and culture in higher education, and include the theoretical perspective of academic literacies, English for Academic Purposes, writing research, issues of intercultural communication and English as an international language.

Description

To ask where language comes from is to raise the question of the origin of the cognitively modern human mind. Recent work in conceptual integration theory (CIT) shows that cognitively modern human beings are equipped with an advanced form of a basic mental operation that makes it possible for them to develop a number of human singularities: art, music, science, fashions of dress, dance, mathematics. This basic mental operation is conceptual integration, and the advanced form is Double-Scope integration. Human singularities are not independent. They precipitate as products of Double-Scope conceptual integration. Here, we will explore the implications of these findings for the origin of language. There are many problems besetting theories of the origin of language. These problems include the absence of intermediate stages in the appearance of language, the absence of existing languages more rudimentary than others, the appeal to some extraordinary genetic event unlike any other we know of, and the difficulty of finding a defensible story of adaptation. CIT opens up a different way of looking at the origin of language that is free of such problems.

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Citation

Fauconnier, Gilles; Turner, Mark. The origin of language as a product of the evolution of modern cognition. Origin and Evolution of Languages - Approaches, Models, Paradigms. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 133 - 156 May 2008. ISBN 9781845535537. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=19029. Date accessed: 26 Sep 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.19029. May 2008

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