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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7163

Appears in Collections:Literature and Languages Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Protolanguage reconstructed
Author(s): Smith, Andrew D M
Contact Email: andrew.smith@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Protolanguage
Language evolution
Reanalysis
Semantic Reconstructability
Meaning
Inference
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing
Citation: Smith ADM (2008) Protolanguage reconstructed, Interaction Studies, 9 (1), pp. 100-116.
Abstract: One important difference between existing accounts of protolanguage lies in their assumptions on the semantic complexity of protolinguistic utterances. I bring evidence about the nature of linguistic communication to bear on the plausibility of these assumptions, and show that communication is fundamentally inferential and characterised by semantic uncertainty. This not only allows individuals to maintain variation in linguistic representation, but also imposes a selection pressure that meanings be reconstructible from context. I argue that protolanguage utterances had varying degrees of semantic complexity, and developed into complex language gradually, through the same processes of re- analysis and analogy which still underpin continual change in modern languages.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7163
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/is.9.1.08smi
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: English Studies

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