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A contemporary look at language origins
A contemporary look at language origins

Author(s): Sławomir Wacewicz
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Psychology
Published by: Ośrodek Badań Filozoficznych
Keywords: language evolution; evolution of language; protolanguage; language origins; cooperation; evolutionary linguistics; gestural primacy

Summary/Abstract: Why is language unique? How did language come about? When did this happen? These questions, although quite emblematic of the Western intellectual tradition since its ancient beginnings, so far have not found satisfying answers. Indeed, many still question the very possibility of addressing these basic problems of the origins of language with proper scientific rigor (see e.g. Hauser et al. 2014). However, an emerging consensus is that current research in the field of language evolution is in fact bearing fruit, making it at least possible to judge in an informed manner which of these competing scenarios are far more or less probable. In what follows, I guide the reader through some of this research and some of these scenarios; for more details, I refer the reader to a recent book (Żywiczyński & Wacewicz 2015), which is the first monograph that presents this developing field of language evolution research to the Polish reader.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 68-81
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English