In this paper, we distinguish between a number of different phenomena that have been called imitation, and identify one form—a high fidelity mechanism for social learning—considered to be crucial for the development of language. Subsequently, we consider a common claim in the language evolution literature, which is that prior to the emergence of vocal language our ancestors communicated using a sophisticated gestural protolanguage (the ‘gesture-first view’), the learning of some parts of which required manual imitation. Drawing upon evidence from recent work in neuroscience, primatology, and archeology, we argue that while gestural communication undoubtedly played a crucial role in language evolution, the grounds for thinking that manual imitation did are currently unconvincing.

Reconsidering the Role of Manual Imitation in Language Evolution

Tramacere A.
Primo
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2018

Abstract

In this paper, we distinguish between a number of different phenomena that have been called imitation, and identify one form—a high fidelity mechanism for social learning—considered to be crucial for the development of language. Subsequently, we consider a common claim in the language evolution literature, which is that prior to the emergence of vocal language our ancestors communicated using a sophisticated gestural protolanguage (the ‘gesture-first view’), the learning of some parts of which required manual imitation. Drawing upon evidence from recent work in neuroscience, primatology, and archeology, we argue that while gestural communication undoubtedly played a crucial role in language evolution, the grounds for thinking that manual imitation did are currently unconvincing.
Tramacere A.; Moore R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/844637
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