Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse - James D. Benson

Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse - James D. Benson

The evolutionary dimension: the thin edge of the wedge – grammar and discourse in the evolution of language

Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse - James D. Benson

James D. Benson [+-]
York University, Toronto
James D. Benson is Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar in the English at Glendon College, York University, Toronto. He is co-author (with William S. Greaves) of You and Your Language: The Kinds of English you Use (Pergamon Press, 1984).
William S. Greaves † [+-]
York University, Toronto
William S. Greaves, who died in September, 2014, was Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar, Department of English, Glendon College, York University, Toronto.
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh [+-]
Sue Savage-Rumbaugh is a psychologist and primatologist most known for her work with two bonobos, Kanzi and Panbanisha, investigating their linguistic and cognitive abilities using lexigrams and computer-based keyboards.
Jared P. Taglialatela [+-]
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RESEARCH INTERESTS: • The evolutionary origins of human language • Nonhuman animal communicative behavior (esp. primate vocal and gestural communication) and the biological substrates that mediate these behaviors • Animal cognition and its biological basis • The evolution of neuroanatomical asymmetries as well as their behavioral relevance
Paul J. Thibault [+-]
University of Agder
Paul J. Thibault is professor in linguistics and communication studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Education, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway. He also currently holds the posts of Honorary Professor in the School of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Beijing Normal University and Honorary Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong. He has held full-time appointments in the University of Hong Kong (2009-2012), Lingnan University, Hong Kong (2002), the University of Venice (1994-2005), the University of Padua (1992-1994), the University of Bologna (1984-1986, 1990-1992), and the University of Sydney (1986-1988), and Murdoch University (1982-1983). He completed his Ph.D., which was supervised by Professor M. A. K. Halliday and Professor Roger Fowler, at the University of Sydney in 1985. He is the recipient of various honours and awards, including, most recently, a University of Cambridge/University of Hong Kong Doris Zimmern research fellowship at Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge (2011) and in September 2012 he was appointed Associate Editor of Language Sciences. He was a member of the international Organizing Committee of the 1st International Conference on Interactivity, Language and Cognition (CILC2012) held at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense campus, 12th-14th September 2012. He is co-editor (with Anthony Baldry) of the book series English Linguistics and ELT, published by Equinox, London. His research interests include: distributed language and cognition, discourse analysis, functional grammar and semantics, educational linguistics, language development, multimodality and multimodal corpora, social theory, the bodily basis of cognition and semiosis, narrative theory, and philosophy of mind. His published books include: Social Semiotics as Praxis (Minnesota, 1991), Re-reading Saussure (Routledge, 1997), Discussing Conversation Analysis: The work of Emanuel A. Schegloff (ed., Benjamins, 2003), Language and Interaction: Discussions with John J. Gumperz (ed., Benjamins, 2003), Brain, Mind, and the Signifying Body: An ecosocial semiotic theory (Continuum, 2004), Agency and Consciousness in Discourse: Self-other dynamics as a complex system (Continuum, 2004), Multimodal Transcription and Multimodal Text Analysis (with Anthony Baldry) (Equinox, 2006) together with articles and book chapters. He is currently working on two new book-length projects: (1) Language, Body, World: A critical rereading of Hjelmslev; and (2) Distributed Language: The extended human ecology.


This chapter examines three snapshots taken from comprehensive studies with large amounts of data: evidence for proto-metafunctional differentiation in monkeys, evidence in a human child for the transition from indexical call systems to ideationally and interpersonally differentiated symbolic lexicogrammar and evidence in a bonobo-human interaction for the interpretation of ideationally and interpersonally differentiated human lexicogrammar.

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Benson, James D. ; Greaves, William S.; Savage-Rumbaugh, Sue; Taglialatela, Jared P.; Thibault, Paul. The evolutionary dimension: the thin edge of the wedge – grammar and discourse in the evolution of language. Functional Dimensions of Ape-Human Discourse. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 76-99 Nov 2005. ISBN 9781845536534. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.22018. Nov 2005

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