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Auteur: Anne REBOUL

The social evolution of language and the necessity of implicit communication

Abstract/Résumé: Currently trendy accounts of language evolution are social in the sense that they account for it in terms of cooperation and cohesion in human groups. These scenarios basically try to account for public languages and ignore the Chomskyan distinction between I-language and E-language. They also ignore the importance of implicit communication in linguistic communication. Implicit communication, however, because it is universal, specific to human language (it is not found in any other animal communication system) and, arguably, is not inherited from universal grammar, is a central clue to the emergence of public languages. It justifies a radically different social hypothesis, according to which public languages evolved for non-hostile manipulation rather than for altruistic cooperation.