Replied by Nanay (2000). Philosophical Questions in the Evolution of Language. Commentary on Place on Language-Gesture.
Place, U. T. (2000c). The role of the hand in the evolution of language. Psycoloquy, 11(7), January 23. www.cogsci.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?11.007
This article has four sections. Section I sets out four principles which should guide any attempt to reconstruct the evolution of an existing biological characteristic. Section II sets out thirteen principles specific to a reconstruction of the evolution of language. Section III sets out eleven pieces of evidence for the view that vocal language must have been preceded by an earlier language of gesture. Based on those principles and evidence, Section IV sets out seven proposed stages in the process whereby language evolved: (1) the use of mimed movement to indicate an action to be performed, (2) the development of referential pointing which, when combined with mimed movement, leads to a language of gesture, (3) the development of vocalisation, initially as a way of imitating the calls of animals, (4) counting on the fingers leading into (5) the development of symbolic as distinct from iconic representation, (6) the introduction of the practice of question and answer, and (7) the emergence of syntax as a way of disambiguating utterances that can otherwise be disambiguated only by gesture.
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Download: 2000c The Role of the Hand in the Evolution of Language.pdf