Robert Wright, New York Times Book Review “The evolution of language is a fascinating topic, and Bickerton’s Language and Species is the best introduction . Request PDF on ResearchGate | Language and Species | The abstract for this Article in Language 68(2) · June with 77 Reads Derek Bickerton. Derek Bickerton (March 25, – March 5, ) was an English-born American linguist and academic who was Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. Based on his work in creole languages in Guyana and Hawaii, he has In Language and Species (), he suggests that all three questions might be.

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Language and Species

However provided the referents of particular proto-concepts remained relevant, these would be retained and new ones would be added over evolutionary time.

Talking I is a module that forms a part of accessible I, though sometimes other modules grab the microphone.

In non-human animals, categories might be referred to as proto-concept. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Derek Bickerton

If this were not the case we could not have words for things like unicorns and golden mountains, which do not exist in the real world. The third phase, which began with the coming of agriculture at the end of the last ice age, introduced territorialism and inequality. Frogs react quickly to snap up passing insects, but this is simply a hard-wired reaction to small rapidly moving objects it ignores stationary insects and reacts to pellets flicked across their line of vision, but it works more often than not.

Creoles tend to have the same grammar regardless of the constituent languages suggesting a biological basis for it. At lowest level there are organisms like sea anemones that sspecies identify chemical signature of hostile starfish and execute an escape manoeuvre. It is not, by itself, enough to produce novelties, though it would have increased social and foraging capacities. This implies awareness of conspecifics with which the creature interacts — in turn implying a social species.


Animal communications are holistic and limited, e. The majority of these birds undoubtedly learned the trick derej watching their conspecifics.

Bickerton dismisses the long-running debate on the possibility of thought without language. It therefore seems likely that H. Pidgins develop into creoles — i.

Language is a mediated mapping, a mapping that derives from the processing of sensory inputs.

Language and Species by Derek Bickerton

He speculates on the probable origin of protolanguage, likely in Homo erectus, traces the development of grammar, and shows why syntax would have been the last vital step toward modern language, communication, and representation. Amanda Maregente rated it really liked it Feb 11, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Bickerton died in March at the age of But how did we get from proto-language to full language? While one might dismiss this as a mere convention of languages, conventions can be broken and these never are. Ability to evaluate data is more complex in — say — lizard stalking a fly, where there is actual data bickfrton by the brain leading to a choice of behaviours.

They probably originated through millennia of day-to-day hominid routine, with Agent as the most important. Thirdly the tree does not seem to be derived from experience of the world as children as young as three or four used only slightly truncated trees. It is comparable to that of a 2-yr old human.

My library Help Advanced Book Search. In his book Roots of LanguageBickerton poses three questions: Speciies 07, Bart Jr. We can expand lexicon but not grammar. Possibly this aided them in the use of fire, which seems well-attested.

Lists with This Book. Am I the whole body or just mind or a homunculus? A must read for anyone interested in why and how language evolved in hominids. Contents The Continuity Paradox. You are commenting using your WordPress. In Language and Specieshe suggests that all three questions might be answered by postulating that the origin of language can be traced to the evolution of representation systems and symbolic thinking, together with a later development of formal syntax.


Language and Species by Derek Bickerton. Paul might have put it. The latter appears to be a black box; we can neither alter it nor explain it. For example, trees, pigs and men can all be dead; but only pigs and humans can be hungry; and only humans can be honest.

Derek Bickerton – Wikipedia

You only run into a few really important ideas in your life, and you tend to remember them, if not always exactly when and where they were first heard or read. In language dwrek have one, two or three arguments like subprograms.

Pretty well all animals are capable of learning from experience, and many can learn by observation such as the blue tits that began pecking their way into milk bottles in the UK in the s.

Years ago, I read this book, and crashed headlong into one of these ideas. Melanie rated it it was amazing Nov 21, Wildebeest do not always flee when they see a lion. Bickerton also wrote several novels. Secondly there is a contiguity constraint — for example anything applying to humans and plants must also apply to animals.

Drawing on “living linguistic fossils” such as “ape talk,” the “two-word” stage of small children, and pidgin languages, and on recent discoveries in llanguage, Bickerton shows how a primitive “protolanguage” could have offered Homo erectus a novel ecological niche. In other words, the brain is modular. Displacement, Bickerton claims, is the hallmark feature of language. First o You only run into a few really important ideas in your life, and you tend to remember them, if not always exactly when and where they were first heard or read.