Origins of Human Communication (Jean Nicod Lectures)

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9780262515207: Origins of Human Communication (Jean Nicod Lectures)

A leading expert on evolution and communication presents an empirically based theory of the evolutionary origins of human communication that challenges the dominant Chomskian view.

Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction. Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions. Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing required increasingly complex grammatical devices. Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research team), Tomasello argues further that humans' cooperative communication emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming. Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural learning for creating and passing along jointly understood communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along within particular cultural groups.

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About the Author:

Michael Tomasello is Codirector of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig. He is the author of The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition and Constructing a Language: A Usage-Based Theory of Language Acquisition.

Review:

Underscoring the uniqueness of humans is all too easy. The challenge is to explain it in a naturalistic perspective. Michael Tomasello meets the challenge with his unique suite of competencies in animal and human psychology, and his ability to think and write with clarity and insight about complex issues. There is much to learn and much to think and also to argue about in this important book.

(Dan Sperber, Institut Jean Nicod)

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Book Description MIT Press Ltd, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A leading expert on evolution and communication presents an empirically based theory of the evolutionary origins of human communication that challenges the dominant Chomskian view.Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction. Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions. Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing required increasingly complex grammatical devices. Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research team), Tomasello argues further that humans cooperative communication emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming. Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural learning for creating and passing along jointly understood communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along within particular cultural groups. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780262515207

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Book Description MIT Press Ltd, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A leading expert on evolution and communication presents an empirically based theory of the evolutionary origins of human communication that challenges the dominant Chomskian view.Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction. Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions. Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing required increasingly complex grammatical devices. Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research team), Tomasello argues further that humans cooperative communication emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming. Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural learning for creating and passing along jointly understood communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along within particular cultural groups. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780262515207

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Book Description MIT Press Ltd, 2010. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. A leading expert on evolution and communication presents an empirically based theory of the evolutionary origins of human communication that challenges the dominant Chomskian view. Series: Jean Nicod Lectures. Num Pages: 408 pages. BIC Classification: CFA; JHM. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 203 x 138 x 27. Weight in Grams: 444. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780262515207

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Book Description MIT Press Ltd. Book Condition: New. 2010. Paperback. A leading expert on evolution and communication presents an empirically based theory of the evolutionary origins of human communication that challenges the dominant Chomskian view. Series: Jean Nicod Lectures. Num Pages: 408 pages. BIC Classification: CFA; JHM. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational. Dimension: 203 x 138 x 27. Weight in Grams: 444. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780262515207

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