Gesture and the Nature of Language

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 16, 1995 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 260 pages
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This book proposes a radical alternative to dominant views of the evolution of language, in particular the origins of syntax. The authors draw on evidence from areas such as primatology, anthropology, and linguistics to present a groundbreaking account of the notion that language emerged through visible bodily action. Written in a clear and accessible style, Gesture and the Nature of Language will be indispensable reading for all those interested in the origins of language.
 

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Contents

The universe of gesture
5
12 SPEECH AS GESTURE
8
13 SIGNING AS GESTURE
11
14 SEMANTIC PHONOLOGY
12
15 LANGUAGE AS GESTURE
16
16 AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE ON LANGUAGE
17
17 GRASPING SYNTAX
21
The nature of gesture
27
53 WHAT MUST BE MASTERED? STRUCTURE AND PLASTICITY
126
54 THE CRITICAL PERIOD FOR ACQUISITION AND SPECIES SPECIFICITY
127
55 A GRAMMAR GENE?
132
56 PAST TENSE AND SEMIMODULARITY
133
57 DISTRIBUTED NEURONAL CIRCUITS AND NEURAL DARWINISM
139
58 THE NATURE OF A GESTURAL ACQUISITION THEORY
140
Language from the body politic
143
62 MOVEMENT BRAIN SOCIETY LANGUAGE
149

21 COMPARING SIGN AND SPEECH
28
22 WHAT IS GESTURE?
38
23 SPEECH AS GESTURE
42
24 THE TWO FACES OF GESTURE
46
25 PERCEPTUAL CATEGORIZATION
48
26 THE ROLE OF MOTOR ACTIONS IN PERCEPTION
50
27 GLOBAL MAPPINGS PRECONCEPTS AND PRESYNTAX
53
28 EVENT COGNITION AND LANGUAGE
54
SEEING LANGUAGE
57
Are signed and spoken languages differently organized?
64
32 DESCRIBING SIGNED LANGUAGE
69
33 SEEKING ORGANIZATIONAL SIMILARITY AT THE SUBLEXICAL LEVEL
71
34 LOOKING AT DIFFERENCES
80
35 SUMMARY
88
Is language modular?
92
42 MODULARITY AND CEREBRAL LOCALIZATION
94
43 PLASTICITY AND ASSOCIATIONISM
95
44 LINGUISTIC MODALITY AND MODULARITY
97
45 SPATIAL SYNTAX AND THE LEFT BRAIN
100
MODULES AND ISOMORPHS
102
47 COARTICULATION IN SPEECH AND SIGN
106
48 MODULARISM VERSUS ASSOCIATIONISM
115
Do we have a genetically programmed drive to acquire language?
121
51 UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR
122
52 ARE THERE GENETICALLY DETERMINED MILESTONES IN LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT?
123
The origin of syntax gesture as name and relation
161
72 THE SECOND SUBSYSTEM
166
73 LANGUAGE FROM THE WHOLE BRAIN
167
74 SIGN LANGUAGES AND MANUAL GESTURES
174
75 GESTURAL SYNTAX
176
76 THE TREE IN THE SEED
178
77 THE OPENING OF THE SEED
182
78 LANGUAGE COEVOLVING WITH CULTURE
186
79 ELABORATING THE PATTERN
187
710 GESTURE AND ICONICITY
191
711 SIGNALING SYNTAX
194
Language from the body an evolutionary perspective
198
81 THE HOMINID ADAPTIVE COMPLEX
199
GRADUALISM INCREMENTALISM AND PUNCTUATION
203
83 EVOLUTION OF CEREBRAL ASYMMETRY
209
84 THE HOMINID LIFE STYLE
214
85 THE ANCESTRAL STOCK
215
86 HOMINID SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
217
87 ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF LANGUAGE
223
88 LANGUAGE AND LONGEVITY AS EVOLUTIONARY PROBLEMS
230
FINAL METAPHORS
234
References
237
Author index
255
Subject index
259
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Page 1 - A curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put in three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: 'What is there?' It can be answered, moreover, in a word — 'Everything' — and everyone will accept this answer as true. However, this is merely to say that there is what there is. There remains room for disagreement over cases; and so the issue has stayed alive down the centuries.

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