The role of phonology in the evolution of Language (talk in English)

Πέμ, 26/09/2019

On Wednesday, October 2, Caroline Féry (Goethe University Frankfurt & EKPA), will talk at the Kolloquium of the German Department about The role of phonology in the evolution of Language (talk in English). 

Place: Philosophiki, Room 712 (map)
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 02, 15.30

Everybody is most welcome! After the talk, we plan to continue the discussion at Rakaki (Plateia Kesariani). 


Although we will never know for sure how and when human language originated, the literature is full with proposals and models (see the overview in Fitch 2010). In my talk, I will review some of them and focus on the role of phonology for this discussion. An important issue that is not often addressed is Martinet’s (1961) notion of ‘double articulation of language’ that, in my view, illuminates some crucial aspects of evolution of language: it is the idea that we can articulate meaningless chunks of hierarchically organized phonological constituents and associate them with meanings of different kinds. The ultimate goal is to understand why we are the only talking species, i.e. which aspects of our linguistic tools render us prone to develop, learn and use language? In doing so, past proposals of gestural and musical origins of language, as proposed by previous researchers, will be addressed.

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