Skip to main content

Protolanguage in ontogeny and phylogeny

Combining deixis and representation

Buy Article:

$33.04 plus tax (Refund Policy)

We approach the issue of holophrasis versus compositionality in the emergence of protolanguage by analyzing the earliest combinatorial constructions in child, bonobo, and chimpanzee: messages consisting of one symbol combined with one gesture. Based on evidence from apes learning an interspecies visual communication system and children acquiring a first language, we conclude that the potential to combine two different kinds of semiotic element — deictic and representational — was fundamental to the protolanguage forming the foundation for the earliest human language. This is a form of compositionality, in that each communicative element stands for a single semantic element. The conclusion that human protolanguage was exclusively holophrastic — containing a proposition in a single word — emerges only if one considers the symbol alone, without taking into account the gesture as a second element comprising the total message.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Keywords: ANIMAL LANGUAGE; BONOBO; CHILD LANGUAGE; CHIMPANZEE; EVOLUTION OF COMMUNICATION; GESTURE; HOLOPHRASE; SINGLE-WORD UTTERANCES; SYMBOLIC COMBINATION; TWO-WORD UTTERANCES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-04-01

More about this publication?
  • Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more