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Jack Sidnell

Review Summary Chapter One Language consist of signs and symbols Winking is intentional = Humans Blinking is non-intentional = Animals Chapter Two Referential communication is necessarily intentional, it is fundamentally triadic Non-referential communication may or may not be intentional, typically dyadic One aspect of semanticity = reference Reference requires joint attention in pointing Signs, symbols, and words can communicate without referencing Animals other than humans communicate but don't refer Humans are animals and mammals; communicate in ways that display their relation to one another Most Animals don't use symbols or signs intentionally although some primates do. Animals don't reference Humans do use communication intentional although they have non-intentional signs sweating Humans refer when communicating, by showing or pointing, they non-refer when saying hello or bowing Chapter 3 Chimps and other apes could, with training produce combinations of signs; it looks like a rudimentary syntax Language is unique to humans, according to Tomasello chimps lack the ability to use signs in the way humans do To share information by referring to things. Chimps don't point, they don't refer Chimps and bonobos are capable of intentional and flexible sign use; they are capable of attending to the attention of others Monkey (and ape) vocalizations are involuntary and non-intentional displays Ape gestures are voluntary, intentional signals Phylogenetic ritualization = adaptations by a species i.e. baring of the teeth in wolves Ontogenetic ritualization = are learned by an individual i.e. chimp- arm raising, they anticipate this anticipation Summary: Great apes command sophisticated gestures that are:  Flexibly used – i.e. voluntary =, intentional communication  Learned rather than genetically inherited  Sensitive to the attention states of the recipient These gestures are not  Used to refer or to share information  Traditionally transmitted (through imitation for instance). They are not “cultural” in that sense  Used to achieve “joint attentional states.” Chimp way – attention following, flexible comprehension, learning, Non-cumulative Culture Human way – attention directing, flexible production, teaching, Cumulative culture Human pointing Tomasello argues that humans understand pointing because they can share attention and draw on common knowledge i.e common ground Chapter Four Phylogenetic ritualization, Ontogenetic ritualization, and imitation Are alternate accounts of how it is that a given individual comes to behave in a particular way. Ontogenetic ritualization and imitation Are alternative theories of learning. Monkeys are social beings live in social groups; they all do inherited calls even though they have no contact with each other • Same repertoire across groups (within a species) • Monkeys raised in isolation or cross-fostered by another species have the same repertoire • Tight connection between stimulus and vocalization • Attempts to teach a new vocalization they fail • These calls aren’t learn, they are inherited calls Ape behaviors are different than the monkey calls, that these are intentional signals • Many individual differences in gestural repertoire of different individuals of the same species, even within the same group, is not genetic inheritance • Individuals may use the same gesture for different communicative ends • Individuals typically produce a gesture only when the recipient is appropriately attentive, and afterward they often monitor the recipient’s reaction and wait for a response • Individuals sometimes use sequences or combinations of multiple gestures when the other does not react appropriately • Individuals with significant human contact invent or learn different kinds of novel gestures quite easily Apes don’t “ape” – evidence against imitation account:  When different captive groups are compared, there are no systematic group differences, but many individual differences within both groups;  Individuals in natural social groups acquire gestures they have had little or no opportunity to observe and there are some idiosyncratic gestures used only by single individuals  Youngsters raised in captive peer groups, with no adult gestures to observe, acquire many of the same gestures as youngsters in natural groups-because they engage in many of the same activities (play, nursing, etc.) within which these gestures are ritualized; Chapter Five The library and baseball examples show that in interpreting/understanding a gesture (like a point) we have to apply background knowledge and use this to generate inferences. This communicative signal is weak; we have to fill in the missing info Understanding even the simplest utterance requires the hearer to make inferences Paul Price Described the cooperative principle as a basis for inference, includes quality (truthful), quantity (be informative as possible), relevance, and manner (be clear, brief and orderly) Properties of the linguistic code Semanticity Means that linguistic signs have meaning, they are quite specific Arbitrariness Refers to the fact that there is no essential connection between the meaning of a words and the set of sounds used to convey it, it is seen in comparing languages Spanish = perro and English = dog
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