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Communication as source and motivator of language evolution

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Language emerges and changes primarily through communication; therefore communication technologies play a key role in the history of language change. The most powerful communication technology from this point of view is phonetic writing, which has a double effect on language: on the one hand it impoverishes suprasegmental linguistic resources; on the other hand it evokes in language a profound and sophisticated semantic precision, and also syntactic complexity. The huge progress in abstract human thought that has taken place over the past three or four centuries has come about on the basis of these linguistic changes. Today, when writing seems to be losing its earlier hegemony over communication, the question arises as to whether this will lead to the erosion of human language, and also of human thought.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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