Human Language

Human Language

  • Submitted By: samarbaloch
  • Date Submitted: 02/05/2011 5:33 AM
  • Category: English
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What Humans Have That Animals Don’t Have Joseph Emonds
*郡司隆男, Ⅰ 西垣内泰介 編著(2005) ことばの科学ハンドブック 研究社 P239 から抽出

Basic hallmarks of human language The structuralist linguist Charles Hockett’s “ Origin of Speech” named some

properties of human language in Scientific American(1960). Five of these really seem to be the hallmarks of human language: A. Displacement. We talk about the past and possible futures in detail. We use

language to plan, lie, joke, be ironic, mislead, make propaganda, talk about imaginary worlds (fantasy, outer space) and discuss distant places in detail. Animals don’t communicate in such ways. Hockett himself took “bee dancing,” a system of body movements by which some species of bees indicate to other bees the location and quality of food sources, as an instance of displacement. But many reserchers on reflection realize that such sources are strictly in the bees’ “here and now” ; the dancing cannot lie, recount food gathering from the past, invent variations, elaborate stories, or express unfulfilled wishes. In contrast, human language is not limited in this way, unless we beg the question by defining the human “here and now” as qualitatively different from that of all other species. B. Duality of Patterning (パターンの二面 性) Phonology and syntax are different systems superimposed on one another. This is probably the hardest of the five properties for the non-specialist to really understand, so I explain briefly the formal nature of Hockett’s any “language”, the smallest elements in the system combine by rule to give bigger units. (1) Bee dancing: Certain body movements combine to describe food sources. Primate signals: Hand claps and/or calls combine to give messages. Human language: the sounds or “phonemes” such as ‘k’, ‘I’, ‘w’, … combine to make words. (2) Duality of Patterning. In only human language, these bigger units again combine by different rules to make yet bigger units. People typically call these bigger units words. But...

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