By Jean Aitchison
Foreword to the Routledge Classics version Preface to the 1st version. Preface to the 5th variation. advent 1.The nice automated grammatizator 2.Animals that attempt to speak 3.Grandmama's the teeth 4.Predestinate grooves 5.A blueprint within the mind? 6.Chattering youngsters 7.Puzzling it out 8.Celestial unintelligibility 9.The white elephant challenge 10.The case of the lacking fingerprint 11.The Cheshire Cat's grin 12.Banker's clerk or hippopotamus? feedback for extra analyzing References Index
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Extra info for Complete Series Bundle RC: The Articulate Mammal: An Introduction to Psycholinguistics (Routledge Classics)
Chomsky argues that ‘language grows in the mind/brain’ (Chomsky 1988: 55). He explains the situation by quoting the eighteenthcentury thinker James Harris: ‘The growth of knowledge . . [rather resembles] . . the growth of Fruit; however external causes may in some degree cooperate, it is the internal vigour, and virtue of the tree, that must ripen the juices to their maturity’ (Chomsky 1986: 2). In this book, the suggestion that language is a special, pre-programmed activity will be explored further.
They also have failed to give any evidence of creativity. We might expect them to communicate about a multiplicity of situations, since the individual notes of a bird’s song can be combined in an indeﬁnite number of ways. But as far as researchers can judge, birdsong deals animal s t h at t ry t o t al k above all with just two aspects of life: courting a mate, and the marking of territory (Nottebohm 1975; Marler 1991). A bird who appears to humans to be indulging in an operatic aria on the pleasures of life is more likely to be warning other birds not to encroach on its own particular area of woodland.
But this is not so. Duality is also present in birdsong, where each individual note is itself meaningless – it is the combinations of notes which convey meaningful messages. So once again we have not found a critical difference between animals and humans in their use of this feature. A more important characteristic of language is displacement, the ability to refer to things far removed in time and place. ’ It may be impossible for an animal to convey a similar item of information. However, as in the case of other design features, it is sometimes difﬁcult to decide whether displacement is present in an animal’s communication system.