Bio-linguistics: The Santa Barbara Lectures by T. Givón

By T. Givón

Is human language an evolutionary model? Is linguistics a common technology? those questions have bedeviled philosophers, philologists and linguists from Plato via Chomsky. Givon means that the solutions fall obviously inside of an built-in examine of dwelling organisms. during this paintings, Givon issues out that language operates among elements of either advanced organic layout and adaptive behaviour. As in biology, the full is an adaptive compromise to competing calls for. edition is the critical instrument of studying, swap and model. The distinction among innateness and input-driven emergence is an interplay among genetically-coded and behaviourally-coded adventure. In enlarging the cross-disciplinary area, the e-book examines the parallels among language evolution and language diachrony. Sociality, cooperation and communique are proven to be rooted in a standard evolutionary resource, the kin-based hunting-and-gathering society of intimates. The e-book will pay homage to the overdue Joseph Greenberg and his visionary integration of practical motivation, typological range and diachronic swap.

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3; brackets and italics added) In a subsequent paper, Hopper (1991) further elaborates the logic of his position by suggesting that since the boundaries between grammatical, semantic and phonological change are not absolute, they are therefore non-existent. This proposition is somehow supported by the early contention that grammar does not ‘really’ exist, in the traditional sense of relatively stable relationships between structures and their paired semantic or pragmatic correlates: “…The more extensive definition of grammaticalization implicit in this work raises the question of whether, when grammaticalization has done its work, there would in the end be any room left for the notion of grammar in a sense of static structural relationships… If grammar is not a discrete, modular set of relationships, it would seem to follow that no set of changes can be identified which distinctively characterise grammaticalization as opposed to, say, lexical change of phonological change in general…” (Hopper 1991, pp.

2 The adaptive underpinnings of grammatical typology The typological approach to cross-language diversity has been implicitly functionalist, in one guise or another, from von Humboldt and H. Paul down to Greenberg. What I would like to demonstrate here is that cross-linguistic typology is utterly meaningless unless it involves a structure-independent definition of the functional domain to be ‘typed’. This follows, in the main, the Aristotelian-Peircean pragmatic argument that a taxonomy is always done from a chosen relevant perspective (see again fn.

Speech acts, negation i. j. k. l. m. pragmatic voice topicalization focus and contrast relativization conjunction, subordination Under certain developmental, social or neurological conditions, humans can communicate without grammar, using their well-coded lexicon together with some rudimentary combinatorial rules. Such pre-grammatical pidgin communication is found in early child language (9–20 months), natural adult secondlanguage acquisition, and agrammatic (Broca’s) aphasia (see ch. 4). The contrast between grammatical and pre-grammatical communication proves rather revealing, highlighting the adaptive nature of grammar.

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