Mukherjee (2019) – A Note on the Exclusivity of Human Language

A Note on the Exclusivity of Human Language
Sibansu Mukherjee
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September 2019
Human language is exclusive among all primary vocal communicating tools used in the kingdom animalia. However, there are debates on what makes human language exclusive. Among these debates, the most persuasive view is that human language is unique by the virtue of infinite syntactic recursion, which is universal to all human languages. The latest development of this view is backed by certain biological investigation and duly criticized by other scholars. In this paper, I argue that language is not a single product of a solitary process of evolution of the so-called linguistic species Homo sapiens. Thus, syntactic recursion may not be the universal aspect of all human languages. Syntactic recursion can be imagined only as an essential property of some developed languages that may not always be empirically observable. To consider human language as exclusive, I argue that human language in-itself is such a field where context-specific choice-based linguistic expressions are made up of certain syntagmatic relationships. These are substituted paradigmatically, instead of imagining language as a result of syntactic recursiveness, the fundamental function of universal grammar.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004794
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Unpublished
keywords: human language (hl), primary verbal communication (pvc), syntactic recursion, writing, semiotics, paradigmatic axis, significance, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology