Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

The consequences of talking to strangers: Evolutionary corollaries of socio-cultural influences on linguistic form

Wray, Alison and Grace, George 2007. The consequences of talking to strangers: Evolutionary corollaries of socio-cultural influences on linguistic form. Lingua 117 (3) , pp. 543-578. 10.1016/j.lingua.2005.05.005

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

We explore the proposal that the linguistic forms and structures employed by our earliest language-using ancestors might have been significantly different from those observed in the languages we are most familiar with today, not because of a biological difference between them and us, but because the communicative context in which they operated was fundamentally different from that of most modern humans. Languages that are used predominantly for esoteric (intra-group) communication tend to have features that are semantically and grammatically ‘complex’, while those used also (or even exclusively) for exoteric (inter-group) communication become ‘simplified’ towards rule-based regularity and semantic transparency. Drawing on a range of contemporary data, we propose a psycholinguistic explanation for why esotericity would promote such complexity, and argue that this is the natural default setting for human language. This being so, it should be taken into account when modelling the evolution of language, for some of the features that are normally viewed as fundamental – including the notion of fully developed underlying rule-based systematicity – may, in fact, be cultural add-ons.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0024-3841
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:51
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/3685

Citation Data

Cited 100 times in Google Scholar. View in Google Scholar

Cited 97 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item