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The Normative Animal?On the Anthropological Significance of Social, Moral, and Linguistic Norms$
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Neil Roughley and Kurt Bayertz

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190846466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190846466.001.0001

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Language Evolution and Linguistic Norms

Language Evolution and Linguistic Norms

Chapter:
(p.245) 12 Language Evolution and Linguistic Norms
Source:
The Normative Animal?
Author(s):

Nikola Kompa

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190846466.003.0012

How might language have evolved and which (types of) norms, if any, might have played a role in shaping it? This chapter addresses these two questions by first exploring differences between human language and animal communication systems; the difference between natural signs, signals, and non-natural signs (symbols) will be elaborated. The author claims that normativity enters the picture only at the level of symbols. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to the question of what kinds of norms might have played a role in the evolution of symbolic communication. The author argues, firstly, that a certain level of cooperation is needed if non-natural signs are to be interpretable at all; secondly, a type of prudential norm emerges as signs acquire stable meaning; thirdly, interpretation of implicit communication is governed by pragmatic norms, too.

Keywords:   language evolution, symbolic communication, pragmatic norms, prudential norms, non-natural meaning, sign, signal

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