G?bor Gy?ri: Language as Cognitive Adaptation

3,500 Ft

The present book is the outcome of research I have been doing in two distinct areas, connected seemingly only by the fact that they are both concerned with language. These areas are the cognitive-biological aspects of language evolution and the cognitive aspects of semantic change. Within the first area I have mainly dealt with the question of how the biologically separate functions of communica-tion and cognition have become combined in the capacity for language and what evolutionary biological mechanisms were responsible for this development. In connection with semantic change I have mainly studied the cognitive processes behind speakers? synchronic linguistic behavior when they modify conventional meanings and the diachronic linguistic process in which such new meanings become conventionalized.

The point of interest that has always connected these two directions of research for me is the general topic of the cognitive function of language. Based on this unifying theme, the book provides a synthesis of the results that have grown out of my work in these two research fields. These results have led to the realization that language evolution and language change can both be explained as adaptation processes driven by the cognitive function of language. The book is built to a large extent on papers that have been published previously, but here the results of that work have been woven together and organized organically around the topic of language as cognitive adaptation. Thus, the ultimate ground for the synthesis is the claim that language evolved as an adaptation to cognitive challenges in the social interaction with the environment, and consequently language change is an adaptation process driven by the function of language to serve as an adaptive and flexible tool for social cognition.
Here I would like to take the opportunity and express my appreciation to all of those who have helped me in shaping the ideas forwarded in this book.


From Language Evolution to Language Change

ISBN 963 642 049 1
Kiad?: Lingua Franca Group, P?cs
Megjelen?s: 2005
Nyelv: angol
Terjedelem: 256 oldal
M?ret: 145×230 mm
K?t?sm?d: karton?lt, ragaszt?k?t?tt



Table of contents

Introduction: Language, cognition and adaptation13
The evolutionary function of language13
Explanations of language evolution14
Structure and function in language evolution16
The evolution of linguistic capacity17
The cognitive functioning of language23
Adaptive change in language24
The adaptive character of semantic change26
The organization of the book29
Part I: Cognitive Adaptation and Language Evolution
1. Studying the prehistory of language35
1.1 The origin of language and languages35
1.2 On the emergence of symbol systems38
1.3 Linguistic capacity and linguistic system:? issues of coevolution42
2. The emergence of language and the problem of evolutionary continuity47
2.1 Structure, capacity and behavior in language evolution47
2.2 Language as an evolutionary innovation and the issue of continuity49
2.3 Continuity and discontinuity in evolution55
2.4 Genetic aspects of language evolution57
3. Natural selection, adaptation and the evolution of? language65
3.1 Some problems of language evolution65
3.2 The adaptive value of language68
3.3 Problems with the origin of human cognition80
3.4 Symbolic cognition as the adaptive advantage of language83
4. The emergence of referential behavior87
4.1 Reference in a biological perspective87
4.2 Comparing animal communication and human language89
4.3 Artificial language in apes as an indicator of cognitive capacities92
4.4 Biological and cognitive bases of linguistic reference?????????????? 9898
Part II: Semantic Change as Cognitive Adaptation Process
5. The cognitive function of language109
5.1 What is cognition?109
5.2 Language as a tool for individual and social cognition112
5.3 Adapting language to cognition121
6. Cognitive aspects of semantic change130
6.1 Toward a cognitive explanation of semantic change130
6.2 General issues of semantic change135
6.3 Cognitive processes and the actuation of semantic change140
6.4 Cognitive factors guiding semantic innovation145
6.5 Semantic change and semantic knowledge156
6.6 The cognitive basis of polysemy and its emergence in the lexicon158
6.7 Semantic change as adaptation process????????????????????????????????????? 168168
7. Universal tendencies and linguistic relativity in semantic change172
7.1 How regular is semantic change?172
7.2 The cognitive foundations of universal tendencies? in semantic change177
7.3 A comparative cognitive analysis of emotion term etyma??????? 182182
7.4 Universals of semantic change versus linguistic relativity?????? 195195
8. The role of image schemata in semantic change199
8.1 A note on the relevance of universal tendencies in semantic change for semantic reconstruction199
8.2 The relevance of image schemata in the search for universals202
?8.3 The conceptualization of basic oppositions as revealed through semantic change206
?8.4 Lexicalization processes based on image schemata213
Conclusion: Language as cognitive adaptation219
The evolution and adaptive value of symbolic cognition219
Cognitive adaptation in language223