Gábor Győri: Language as Cognitive Adaptation

PDFNyomtatásÍmél
The present book is the outcome of research I have been doing in two distinct areas, connected seemingly only by the fact that they are both concerned with language. These areas are the cognitive-biological aspects of language evolution and the cognitive aspects of semantic change. Within the first area I have mainly dealt with the question of how the biologically separate functions of communica-tion and cognition have become combined in the capacity for language and what evolutionary biological mechanisms were responsible for this development. In connection with semantic change I have mainly studied the cognitive processes behind speakers’ synchronic linguistic behavior when they modify conventional meanings and the diachronic linguistic process in which such new meanings become conventionalized.

The point of interest that has always connected these two directions of research for me is the general topic of the cognitive function of language. Based on this unifying theme, the book provides a synthesis of the results that have grown out of my work in these two research fields. These results have led to the realization that language evolution and language change can both be explained as adaptation processes driven by the cognitive function of language. The book is built to a large extent on papers that have been published previously, but here the results of that work have been woven together and organized organically around the topic of language as cognitive adaptation. Thus, the ultimate ground for the synthesis is the claim that language evolved as an adaptation to cognitive challenges in the social interaction with the environment, and consequently language change is an adaptation process driven by the function of language to serve as an adaptive and flexible tool for social cognition.
Here I would like to take the opportunity and express my appreciation to all of those who have helped me in shaping the ideas forwarded in this book. I am deeply indebted to Vilm
Gábor Győri: Language as Cognitive AdaptationGábor Győri: Language as Cognitive Adaptation

Ár
3500 Ft
Leírás

From Language Evolution to Language Change

ISBN 963 642 049 1
Kiadó: Lingua Franca Group, Pécs
Megjelenés: 2005
Nyelv: angol
Terjedelem: 256 oldal
Méret: 145x230 mm
Kötésmód: kartonált, ragasztókötött

 

 

Table of contents

Preface 11
   
Introduction: Language, cognition and adaptation 13
The evolutionary function of language 13
Explanations of language evolution 14
Structure and function in language evolution 16
The evolution of linguistic capacity 17
The cognitive functioning of language 23
Adaptive change in language 24
The adaptive character of semantic change 26
The organization of the book 29
   
Part I: Cognitive Adaptation and Language Evolution  
   
1. Studying the prehistory of language 35
1.1 The origin of language and languages 35
1.2 On the emergence of symbol systems 38
1.3 Linguistic capacity and linguistic system:  issues of coevolution    42
   
2. The emergence of language and the problem of evolutionary continuity    47
2.1 Structure, capacity and behavior in language evolution 47
2.2 Language as an evolutionary innovation and the issue of continuity 49
2.3 Continuity and discontinuity in evolution 55
2.4 Genetic aspects of language evolution 57
   
3. Natural selection, adaptation and the evolution of  language   65
3.1 Some problems of language evolution 65
3.2 The adaptive value of language 68
3.3 Problems with the origin of human cognition 80
3.4 Symbolic cognition as the adaptive advantage of language 83
   
4. The emergence of referential behavior 87
4.1 Reference in a biological perspective 87
4.2 Comparing animal communication and human language 89
4.3 Artificial language in apes as an indicator of cognitive capacities   92
4.4 Biological and cognitive bases of linguistic reference               98 98
   
   
Part II: Semantic Change as Cognitive Adaptation Process
   
5. The cognitive function of language 109
5.1 What is cognition? 109
5.2 Language as a tool for individual and social cognition 112
5.3 Adapting language to cognition 121
   
6. Cognitive aspects of semantic change 130
6.1 Toward a cognitive explanation of semantic change 130
6.2 General issues of semantic change 135
6.3 Cognitive processes and the actuation of semantic change 140
6.4 Cognitive factors guiding semantic innovation 145
6.5 Semantic change and semantic knowledge 156
6.6 The cognitive basis of polysemy and its emergence in the lexicon   158
6.7 Semantic change as adaptation process                                      168 168
   
7. Universal tendencies and linguistic relativity in semantic change  172
7.1 How regular is semantic change? 172
7.2 The cognitive foundations of universal tendencies  in semantic change   177
7.3 A comparative cognitive analysis of emotion term etyma        182 182
7.4 Universals of semantic change versus linguistic relativity       195 195
   
8. The role of image schemata in semantic change 199
8.1 A note on the relevance of universal tendencies in semantic change for semantic reconstruction 199
8.2 The relevance of image schemata in the search for universals 202
 8.3 The conceptualization of basic oppositions as revealed through semantic change 206
 8.4 Lexicalization processes based on image schemata 213
Conclusion: Language as cognitive adaptation 219
The evolution and adaptive value of symbolic cognition 219
Cognitive adaptation in language 223
References 228
Index 249

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