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The Evolutionary Emergence of LanguageEvidence and Inference$
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Rudolf Botha and Martin Everaert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654840.001.0001

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Homesign as a way-station between co-speech gesture and sign language: the evolution of segmentation and sequencing

Homesign as a way-station between co-speech gesture and sign language: the evolution of segmentation and sequencing

Chapter:
(p.62) 4 Homesign as a way-station between co-speech gesture and sign language: the evolution of segmentation and sequencing
Source:
The Evolutionary Emergence of Language
Author(s):

Ann Senghas

Asli Özyürek

Susan Goldin-Meadow

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654840.003.0004

This chapter takes segmentation and combination to be a fundamental feature of modern languages, bringing to bear on the evolution of this feature evidence derived from some newly emergent linguistic systems. The systems at issue are the homesign systems used by Nicaraguan and Turkish children, and the emerging Nicaraguan Sign Language. It focuses on how these emerging systems express motion events, a domain that presents rich possibilities for both holistic and segmented representational formats. It describes an indirect relation between present-day language emergence and language evolution. This view forms a sobering corrective on accounts in which inferences to language evolution from data about restricted linguistic systems such as pidgin languages and homesign, amongst others, are drawn in too facile a manner.

Keywords:   modern languages, language evolution, homesign systems, Nicaraguan Sign Language, motion events

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