From metonymy to syntax in the communication of events
Author: Dessalles, Jean-Louis
Source: Interaction Studies, Volume 9, Number 1, 2008 , pp. 51-66(16)
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Abstract:A modular analysis of spontaneous language use provides support for the existence of an identifiable step in language evolution, protolanguage. Our suggestion is that a grammarless form of expression would have evolved to signal unexpected events, a behavior still prevalent in our species. Words could not be so specific as to refer to whole, non-recurring, situations. They referred to elements such as objects or locations, and the communicated event was inferred metonymically. Compositionality was achieved, without syntax, through multi-metonymy, as words referring to elements of the same situation were concatenated into proto-utterances.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2008
- Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems