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hellog〜英語史ブログ / 2021-12-12

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2021-12-12 Sun

#4612. 言語の起源と発達を巡る諸問題 [evolution][origin_of_language][history_of_linguistics][anthropology][sign_language][biology][philosophy_of_language]

 言語の起源と発達について,本ブログでは origin_of_languageevolution の記事で取り上げてきた.古代から現代に至るまで問い続けられてきた古くて新しい問題だが,とりわけ昨今は学際的なアプローチが不可欠である.あまりに深く広く領域であり,研究の歴史と成果を一望するのも難しいほどだが,Mufwene (14--15) が "The Origins and the Evolution of Language" と題する論考で,関連する諸問題の一端をリストで示しているので,そちらを引用する.

1. Was language given to humans by God or did it emerge by Darwinian evolution?
2. From a phylogenetic perspective, did language emerge abruptly or gradually? If the emergence of language was protracted, what plausible intermediate stages can be posited and what would count as evidence for positing them? Assuming that the structure of modern languages is modular, would gradual evolution apply to any of the modules, only to some of them, or only to the overall architecture? What is the probable time of the emergence of the first real ancestor of modern language?
3. Does possessing Language, the non-individuated construct associated exclusively with humans, presuppose monogenesis or does it allow for polygenesis? How consistent is either position with paleontological evidence about the evolution of the Homo genus? How did linguistic diversity start? Assuming Darwinian (variational rather than transformational) evolution, can monogenesis account for typological variation as plausibly as polygenesis?
4. What is the chronological relationship between communication and language? What light does this distinction shed on the relation between sign(ed) and spoken language? Did some of our hominin ancestors communicated by means of ape-like vocalizations and gestures? If so, how can we account for the transition from them to phonetic and signed languages? And how can we account for the fact that modern humans have favoured speaking over signing? Assuming that language is a communication technology, to what extent are some of the structural properties of language consequences of the linearity imposed by the phonic and signing devices used in their architecture.
5. Is the evolution of language more biological than cultural? Or is it the other way around, or equally both? Are languages as cultural artifacts deliberate inventions or emergent phenomena? Who are the agents in the emergence of language: individuals or populations, or both?
6. What is the relationship between language and thought? Did these entities co-evolve or did one cause the other?
7. Is there such a thing as 'language organ' or 'biological endowment for language'? How can it be characterized relative to modern humans' anatomical and/or mental makeups? What are the anatomical, mental, and social factors that facilitated the emergence of language?
8. Can we learn something about the evolution of language from historical language change, especially from the emergence of creoles and pidgins? Can we learn something from child language and/or from home sign language? And what can be learned from 'linguistic apes'? Does it make sense to characterize these particular communicative 'systems' as fossils of the human protolanguage . . . ? In the same vein, what can modelling contribute to understanding the evolution of language. This is definitely the kind of thing that scholars could not do before the twentieth century; it is important to assess its heuristic significance.


 一覧を眺めるだけで膨大な問いだということがよく分かる.私の研究している英語史や言語変化 (language_change) は,この茫洋たる分野からみれば本当に微々たる存在にすぎず,しかもこの分野に直接的に資するかも分からない細事である.

 ・ Mufwene, Salikoko S. "The Origins and the Evolution of Language." Chapter 1 of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Linguistics. Ed. Keith Allan. Oxford: OUP, 2013. 13--52.

Referrer (Inside): [2021-12-14-1]

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