Meaningful mistakes in language behaviour [...]

6 • Summing up

See the full set of slides from this talk.

The main motivation behind this work was to to attempt to shed some light on the role of reproductive blends in verbal behaviour of the subsequent generations of language users, which, as it seems, become combinatorially meaningful for the dynamics of cultural evolution of language. It needs to be noted that ‘language’ was not considered here in its phylogenetic, bio-cognitive dimension, i.e. as a uniquely human faculty or capacity for acquiring speech or similar expressive skills in other modes of communicative interaction; rather, the perspective adopted in this work has been rooted in the glossogenetic dynamics of the historical development of language resources, with a special focus on the replicative aspect of the processes that govern such dynamics.

In such a view, any particular verbal expression can be seen as a Saussurean mapping between some kind of signal (externalised in any of the available sensorimotor modalities) and a holistic meaning or a complex cluster of categories to be communicated in a concrete situational context. The communicative success of such interaction depends not only on the appropriate interpretation of the immediate cues and constraints imposed by the current situation, but is also more or less strongly dependent on the ability to align the individual conceptualisations associated with particular expressive components of the utterance. While the first ability relies on more general knowledge (involving orientation in the world, social and interpersonal empathy and perhaps some intuition about the feelings of other people), the latter one has to be explicitly learned.

Why language has (this kind of adaptive) structure at all?

in progress


by Arkadiusz Jasiński
published on: 26.09.2015

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