By T. Givón
Is human language an evolutionary model? Is linguistics a ordinary technology? those questions have bedeviled philosophers, philologists and linguists from Plato via Chomsky. Givon means that the solutions fall obviously inside an built-in research of residing organisms. during this paintings, Givon issues out that language operates among points of either advanced organic layout and adaptive behaviour. As in biology, the complete is an adaptive compromise to competing calls for. version is the integral device of studying, switch and edition. The distinction among innateness and input-driven emergence is an interplay among genetically-coded and behaviourally-coded event. In enlarging the cross-disciplinary area, the publication examines the parallels among language evolution and language diachrony. Sociality, cooperation and communique are proven to be rooted in a typical evolutionary resource, the kin-based hunting-and-gathering society of intimates. The ebook will pay homage to the past due Joseph Greenberg and his visionary integration of sensible motivation, typological variety and diachronic switch.
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Additional info for Bio-linguistics: The Santa Barbara Lectures
An attempt to categorize and conventionalize in advance all possible once-and-future contexts is in principle a maladaptive evolutionary gambit. This is why formal logic, and its spiritual kin Generative Grammar, have proven such problematic research programs in cognitive science. In the evolution of human communication, the two major code-development cycles — lexicon and grammar — contributed immensely to the partial liberation of human communication from the tyranny of context (ch. 4). 2). 1 Adaptive function, evolutionary change and population variation in biology Three interlinked features are the hallmark of all biological entities, setting them apart from the pre-biological universe: Functionally-motivated design Selection-guided adaptive change Variation within populations.
How does the population avoid either extreme? As so often in the realm of evolution, the solution is a dynamic equilibrium between the two opposing forces…” (Mayr 1969, pp. 95–96) The source of variation in biological populations is both genetic (genotypic) and non-genetic (phenotypic). e. not adaptively directed) mutation and recombination…Populations evolve by Language as a bio-adaptation changes in gene frequency brought about by random genetic drift, gene ﬂow, and especially natural selection…Most adaptive genetic variants have individually slight phenotypic eﬀect, so that phenoytypic changes are gradual…” (Futuyma 1986, p.
Strong feature association (c) guarantees that such conclusions can be drawn reliably. Clustering around the mean (d) insures that stereotyping snap decisions will be relevant to the bulk of the categorial population. The more prototypical members of a category, its bulk, tend to be processed automatically — fast and relatively error-free. 2 As a simple-minded example, consider the task of deciding, when walking in the thick bush, whether a tiger-size animal with the characteristic tiger-like stripes, viewed only brieﬂy and scantily, is a dangerous predator or not.