The Origins of Meaning

This is a work of broad scope and significance." W. Tecumesh Fitch, Lecturer in Psychology, University of St. Andrews, from the bookjacket. "I won't lose you now!" said Cam in a voice ragged with emotion.

The Origins of Meaning

"In this engagingly written and broadly interdisciplinary book, Jim Hurford integrates findings from ethology and neuroscience with concepts from philosophy and linguistics to make an explicit and convincing case that animals have rich concepts, and thus that meaning predated language. This is a work of broad scope and significance." W. Tecumesh Fitch, Lecturer in Psychology, University of St. Andrews,from the bookjacket.

The Origins of Grammar

This is the second of the two closely linked but self-contained volumes that comprise James Hurford's acclaimed exploration of the biological evolution of language.

The Origins of Grammar

This is the second of the two closely linked but self-contained volumes that comprise James Hurford's acclaimed exploration of the biological evolution of language. In the first book he looked at the evolutionary origins of meaning, ending as our distant ancestors were about to step over the brink to modern language. He now considers how that step might have been taken and the consequences it undoubtedly had. The capacity for language lets human beings formulate and express an unlimited range of propositions about real or fictitious worlds. It allows them to communicate these propositions, often overlaid with layers of nuance and irony, to other humans who can then interpret and respond to them. These processes take place at breakneck speed. Using a language means learning a vast number of arbitrary connections between forms and meanings and rules on how to manipulate them, both of which a normal human child can do in its first few years of life. James Hurford looks at how this miracle came about. The book is divided into three parts. In the first the author surveys the syntactic structures evident in the communicative behaviour of animals, such as birds and whales, and discusses how vocabularies of learned symbols could have evolved and the effects this had on human thought. In the second he considers how far the evolution of grammar depended on biological or cultural factors. In the third and final part he describes the probable route by which the human language faculty and languages evolved from simple beginnings to their present complex state.

The Origins of Grammar

Language in the Light of Evolution II James R. Hurford, James Raymond Hurford. Humboldt, W. v. (1832–9). Über die Kawi-Sprache auf der Insel Java. Abhandlungen der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. Berlin.

The Origins of Grammar

The second in James Hurford's acclaimed two-volume exploration of the biological evolution of language explores the evolutionary and cultural preconditions and consequences of humanity's great leap into language.

The Evolutionary Emergence of Language

The language mosaic and its evolution. In M. H. Christiansen and S. Kirby (eds.), Language evolution: the states of the art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 36–57. Hurford, J. R. (2007). The origins of meaning: language in the light of ...

The Evolutionary Emergence of Language

The book presents new and stimulating approaches to the study of language evolution and considers their implications for future research. Leading scholars from linguistics, primatology, anthroplogy, and cognitive science consider how language evolution can be understood by means of inference from the study of linked or analogous phenomena in language, animal behaviour, genetics, neurology, culture, and biology. In their introduction the editors show how these approaches can be interrelated and deployed together through their use of comparable forms of inference and the similar conditions they place on the use of evidence. The Evolutionary Emergence of Language will interest everyone concerned with this intriguing and important subject, including those in linguistics, biology, anthropology, archaeology, neurology, and cognitive science.

The Social Origins of Language

Hurford, J.R. (2007). The Origins of Meaning. Language in the Light of Evolution (I). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hurford, J.R. (2011). The Origins of Grammar. Language in the Light of Evolution (II). Oxford University Press.

The Social Origins of Language

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 human communities 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 and innovation: 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 their feelings 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 the time-frame for language evolution. The contributors are leading international scholars from linguistics, anthropology, palaeontology, primatology, psychology, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, archaeology, and cognitive science.

The Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution

Mothers and others: The evolutionary origins of mutual understanding. ... Climatic changes, paleogeography, and the evolution of the Neandertals. In T. Akazawa, K. Aoki, ... The origins of meaning: Language in the light of evolution.

The Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution

Leading scholars present critical accounts of every aspect of the field, including work in animal behaviour; anatomy, genetics and neurology; the prehistory of language; the development of our uniquely linguistic species; and language creation, transmission, and change.

How the Brain Got Language

Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language General Editors Kathleen R. Gibson, University of Texas at Houston, ... by James Grieve 8 The Origins of Meaning Language in the Light of Evolution 1 James R. Hurford Bernd Heine and Tania ...

How the Brain Got Language

Unlike any other species, humans can learn and use language. In this book, Michael Arbib presents the Mirror System Hypothesis, which suggests how complex imitation supported the breakthrough to pantomime, protosign and protospeech and then, through cultural evolution, to fully fledged languages.

New Perspectives on the Origins of Language

In D. Bickerton & E. Szathmáry (Eds.), Biologicalfoundations and origin ofsyntax (pp. ... A molecular genetic framework for testing hypotheses about language evolution. ... The origins of meaning: Language in the light of evolution.

New Perspectives on the Origins of Language

The question of how language emerged is one of the most fascinating and difficult problems in science. In recent years, a strong resurgence of interest in the emergence of language from an evolutionary perspective has been helped by the convergence of approaches, methods, and ideas from several disciplines. The selection of contributions in this volume highlight scenarios of language origin and the prerequisites for a faculty of language based on biological, historical, social, cultural, and paleontological forays into the conditions that brought forth and favored language emergence, augmented by insights from sister disciplines. The chapters all reflect new speculation, discoveries and more refined research methods leading to a more focused understanding of the range of possibilities and how we might choose among them. There is much that we do not yet know, but the outlines of the path ahead are ever clearer.

A Critical Introduction to Language Evolution

The origins of meaning: Language in the light of evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johnson, D. E., & Lappin, S. (1999). Local constraints vs. economy. CSLIPublications: Stanford Monographs in Linguistics.

A Critical Introduction to Language Evolution

This book provides a critical introduction to the current views and controversies regarding language evolution. It sheds new light on hot topics such as: How ancient is language? Did Neanderthals have some form of language? Did language evolve gradually and incrementally, through stages, or suddenly, in one leap, in all its complexity? Does language evolution involve natural selection or not? This book is essential reading for scholars and students interested in language evolution, especially those in the fields of linguistics, psychology, biology, anthropology, and neuroscience.

The Truth about Language

Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” American Biology Teacher ... James R. Hurford, The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), ...

The Truth about Language

Evolutionary science has long viewed language as, basically, a fortunate accident—a crossing of wires that happened to be extraordinarily useful, setting humans apart from other animals and onto a trajectory that would see their brains (and the products of those brains) become increasingly complex. But as Michael C. Corballis shows in The Truth about Language, it’s time to reconsider those assumptions. Language, he argues, is not the product of some “big bang” 60,000 years ago, but rather the result of a typically slow process of evolution with roots in elements of grammatical language found much farther back in our evolutionary history. Language, Corballis explains, evolved as a way to share thoughts—and, crucially for human development, to connect our own “mental time travel,” our imagining of events and people that are not right in front of us, to that of other people. We share that ability with other animals, but it was the development of language that made it powerful: it led to our ability to imagine other perspectives, to imagine ourselves in the minds of others, a development that, by easing social interaction, proved to be an extraordinary evolutionary advantage. Even as his thesis challenges such giants as Chomsky and Stephen Jay Gould, Corballis writes accessibly and wittily, filling his account with unforgettable anecdotes and fascinating historical examples. The result is a book that’s perfect both for deep engagement and as brilliant fodder for that lightest of all forms of language, cocktail party chatter.

Human Origins

Linguistic Evolution Through Language Acquisition: Formal and Computational Models. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 301–344. ———. 2007. The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution.

Human Origins

Human Origins brings together new thinking by social anthropologists and other scholars on the evolution of human culture and society. No other discipline has more relevant expertise to consider the emergence of humans as the symbolic species. Yet, social anthropologists have been conspicuously absent from debates about the origins of modern humans. These contributions explore why that is, and how social anthropology can shed light on early kinship and economic relations, gender politics, ritual, cosmology, ethnobiology, medicine, and the evolution of language.

Competition in Language Change

The origins of meaning: Language in the light of evolution I. Oxford: OUP. Hurford, James. 2012a. Linguistics from an evolutionary point of view. In Ruth Kempson, Tim Fernando & Nicholas Asher (eds.), Handbook of the philosophy of ...

Competition in Language Change

This book addresses one of the most pervasive questions in historical linguistics – why variation becomes stable rather than being eliminated – by revisiting the so far neglected history of the English dative alternation. The alternation between a nominal and a prepositional ditransitive pattern (John gave Mary a book vs. John gave a book to Mary) emerged in Middle English and is closely connected to broader changes at that time. Accordingly, the main quantitative investigation focuses on ditransitive patterns in the Penn-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Middle English; in addition, the book employs an Evolutionary Game Theory model. The results are approached from an ‘evolutionary construction grammar’ perspective, combining evolutionary thinking with diachronic constructionist notions, and the alternation’s emergence is interpreted as a story of constructional innovation, competition, cooperation and co-evolution. The book not only provides a thorough and detailed analysis of the history of one of the most-discussed syntactic phenomena in English, but by fusing two frameworks and employing two different methodologies also presents a highly innovative approach to a problem of relevance to historical linguistics in general.

The Social Origins of Language

The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ———. 2012. The Origins of Grammar: Language in the Light of Evolution II. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Jarvis, E. D. 2004.

The Social Origins of Language

How human language evolved from the need for social communication The origins of human language remain hotly debated. Despite growing appreciation of cognitive and neural continuity between humans and other animals, an evolutionary account of human language—in its modern form—remains as elusive as ever. The Social Origins of Language provides a novel perspective on this question and charts a new path toward its resolution. In the lead essay, Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney draw on their decades-long pioneering research on monkeys and baboons in the wild to show how primates use vocalizations to modulate social dynamics. They argue that key elements of human language emerged from the need to decipher and encode complex social interactions. In other words, social communication is the biological foundation upon which evolution built more complex language. Seyfarth and Cheney’s argument serves as a jumping-off point for responses by John McWhorter, Ljiljana Progovac, Jennifer E. Arnold, Benjamin Wilson, Christopher I. Petkov and Peter Godfrey-Smith, each of whom draw on their respective expertise in linguistics, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology. Michael Platt provides an introduction, Seyfarth and Cheney a concluding essay. Ultimately, The Social Origins of Language offers thought-provoking viewpoints on how human language evolved.

The Routledge Handbook of Linguistics

Deacon, T. (1997) The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain. ... Fitch, W.T. (2010) The Evolution of Language. ... Hurford, J.R. (2007) The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution.

The Routledge Handbook of Linguistics

The Routledge Handbook of Linguistics offers a comprehensive introduction and reference point to the discipline of linguistics. This wide-ranging survey of the field brings together a range of perspectives, covering all the key areas of linguistics and drawing on interdisciplinary research in subjects such as anthropology, psychology and sociology. The 36 chapters, written by specialists from around the world, provide: an overview of each topic; an introduction to current hypotheses and issues; future trajectories; suggestions for further reading. With extensive coverage of both theoretical and applied linguistic topics, The Routledge Handbook of Linguistics is an indispensable resource for students and researchers working in this area.

Is the Language Faculty Non Linguistic

How Words Mean: Lexical Concepts, Cognitive Models and Meaning Construction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ... The Origins of Meaning. Language in the Light of Evolution I. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hurford, J. (2012).

Is the Language Faculty Non Linguistic

A line of research in cognitive science over several decades has been dedicated to finding an innate, language-specific cognitive system, a faculty which allows human infants to acquire languages natively without formal instruction and within short periods of time. In recent years, this search has attracted significant controversy in cognitive science generally, and in the language sciences specifically. Some maintain that the search has had meaningful results, though there are different views as to what the findings are: ranging from the view that there is a rich and rather specific set of principles, to the idea that the contents of the language faculty are - while specifiable - in fact extremely minimal. But other researchers rigorously oppose the continuation of this search, arguing that decades of effort have turned up nothing. The fact remains that the proposal of a language-specific faculty was made for a good reason, namely as an attempt to solve the vexing puzzle of language in our species. Much work has been developing to address this, and specifically, to look for ways to characterize the language faculty as an emergent phenomenon; i.e., not as a dedicated, language-specific system, but as the emergent outcome of a set of uniquely human but not specifically linguistic factors, in combination. A number of theoretical and empirical approaches are being developed in order to account for the great puzzles of language - language processing, language usage, language acquisition, the nature of grammar, and language change and diversification. This research topic aims at reviewing and exploring these recent developments and establishing bridges between these young frameworks, as well as with the traditions that have come before. The goal of this Research Topic is to focus on current developments in what many regard as a paradigm shift in the language sciences. In this Research Topic, we want to ask: If current explicit proposals for an innate, dedicated faculty for language are not supported by data or arguments, how can we solve the problems that UG was proposed to solve? Is it possible to solve the puzzles of language in our species with an appeal to causes that are not specifically linguistic?

The Genesis of Grammar

Evolution. of. Language. General Editors Kathleen R. Gibson, University of Texas at Houston, and James R. Hurford, ... Jean-Louis Dessalles translated by James Grieve 8 The Origins of Meaning Language in the Light of Evolution 1 James ...

The Genesis of Grammar

"This book reconstructs what the earliest grammars might have been and shows how they could have led to the languages of modern humankind. "Like other biological phenomena, language cannot be fully understood without reference to its evolution, whether proven or hypothesized," wrote Talmy Givón in 2002. As the languages spoken 8,000 years ago were typologically much the same as they are today and as no direct evidence exists for languages before then, evolutionary linguists are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in biology. Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva seek to overcome this obstacle by combining grammaticalization theory, one of the main methods of historical linguistics, with work in animal communication and human evolution. The questions they address include: do the modern languages derive from one ancestral language or from more than one? What was the structure of language like when it first evolved? And how did the properties associated with modern human languages arise, in particular syntax and the recursive use of language structures? The authors proceed on the assumption that if language evolution is the result of language change then the reconstruction of the former can be explored by deploying the processes involved in the latter. Their measured arguments and crystal-clear exposition will appeal to all those interested in the evolution of language, from advanced undergraduates to linguists, cognitive scientists, human biologists, and archaeologists.

The Crucible of Language

How Language and Mind Create Meaning Vyvyan Evans. Hespos, S.J. and R. Baillargeon. (2001). ... The Origins of Meaning. Language in the Light of Evolution I. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hurford, J. (2012). The Origins of Grammar.

The Crucible of Language

From the barbed, childish taunt on the school playground, to the eloquent sophistry of a lawyer prising open a legal loophole in a court of law, meaning arises each time we use language to communicate with one another. How we use language - to convey ideas, make requests, ask a favour, and express anger, love or dismay - is of the utmost importance; indeed, linguistic meaning can be a matter of life and death. In The Crucible of Language, Vyvyan Evans explains what we know, and what we do, when we communicate using language; he shows how linguistic meaning arises, where it comes from, and the way language enables us to convey the meanings that can move us to tears, bore us to death, or make us dizzy with delight. Meaning is, he argues, one of the final frontiers in the mapping of the human mind.

The Nature and Origin of Language

The origin of Noun Phrases: Reference, truth and communication. Lingua 117: 527–42. Hurford, James. 2007b. The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hurford, James. 2011.

The Nature and Origin of Language

This book looks at how the human brain got the capacity for language and how language then evolved. Its four parts are concerned with different views on the emergence of language, with what language is, how it evolved in the human brain, and finally how this process led to the properties of language. Part I considers the main approaches to the subject and how far language evolved culturally or genetically. Part II argues that language is a system of signs and considers how these elements first came together in the brain. Part III examines the evidence for brain mechanisms to allow the formation of signs. Part IV shows how the book's explanation of language origins and evolution is not only consistent with the complex properties of languages but provides the basis for a theory of syntax that offers insights into the learnability of language and to the nature of constructions that have defied decades of linguistic analysis, including including subject-verb inversion in questions, existential constructions, and long-distance dependencies. Denis Bouchard's outstandingly original account will interest linguists of all persuasions as well as cognitive scientists and others interested in the evolution of language.

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds

Hurford, J. (2007) The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Liddle, B., and Nettle, D. (2006) “Higher-order theory of mind and social competence in school-age chil- dren,” Journal of ...

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds

While philosophers have been interested in animals since ancient times, in the last few decades the subject of animal minds has emerged as a major topic in philosophy. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, problems, and debates in this exciting subject and is the first collection of its kind. Comprising nearly fifty chapters by a team of international contributors, the Handbook is divided into eight parts: Mental representation Reasoning and metacognition Consciousness Mindreading Communication Social cognition and culture Association, simplicity, and modeling Ethics. Within these sections, central issues, debates, and problems are examined, including: whether and how animals represent and reason about the world; how animal cognition differs from human cognition; whether animals are conscious; whether animals represent their own mental states or those of others; how animals communicate; the extent to which animals have cultures; how to choose among competing models and explanations of animal behavior; and whether animals are moral agents and/or moral patients. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Animal Minds is essential reading for students and researchers in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, ethics, and related disciplines such as ethology, biology, psychology, linguistics, and anthropology.

The Instruction of Imagination

Language as a Social Communication Technology Dr. Daniel Dor. Hurford, J. (2007). The Origins of Meaning: Language in the Light of Evolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Hurford, J. (2011). The Origins of Grammar: Language in the ...

The Instruction of Imagination

The book suggests a new perspective on the essence of human language. This enormous achievement of our species is best characterized as a communication technology - not unlike the social media on the Net today - that was collectively invented by ancient humans for a very particular communicative function: the instruction of imagination. All other systems of communication in the biological world target the interlocutors' senses; language allows speakers to systematically instruct their interlocutors in the process of imagining the intended meaning - instead of directly experiencing it. This revolutionary function has changed human life forever, and in the book it operates as a unifying concept around which a new general theory of language gradually emerges. Dor identifies a set of fundamental problems in the linguistic sciences - the nature of words, the complexities of syntax, the interface between semantics and pragmatics, the causal relationship between language and thought, language processing, the dialectics of universality and variability, the intricacies of language and power, knowledge of language and its acquisition, the fragility of linguistic communication and the origins and evolution of language - and shows with respect to all of them how the theory provides fresh answers to the problems, resolves persistent difficulties in existing accounts, enhances the significance of empirical and theoretical achievements in the field, and identifies new directions for empirical research. The theory thus opens a new way towards the unification of the linguistic sciences, on both sides of the cognitive-social divide.