Michael Tomasello "Origins of Human Communication"

Selasa, 28 Oktober 20080 comments

Michael Tomasello "Origins of Human Communication"
The MIT Press | 2008-09-30 | ISBN: 0262201771 | 400 pages | PDF | 1,1 MB

Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even
shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the
evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello
connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human
communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially
cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social

Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a
psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint
attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and
culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are
helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others
of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within
the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different
functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions.
Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for
example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing
required increasingly complex grammatical devices.

Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by
great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research
team), Tomasello argues further that humans' cooperative communication
emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming.
Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved
only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their
shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural
learning for creating and passing along jointly understood
communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that
linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the
most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are
biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general
and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are
cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along
within particular cultural groups.

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