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  • 1 Please ask the editor of the journal.
  • 2 Tel Aviv University The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas IL–69978 Tel-Aviv
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This paper is an attempt to construct a programmatic framework for the evolution of human language. First, we pres- ent a novel characterization of language, which is based on some of the most recent research results in linguistics. As these results suggest, language is best characterized as a specialized communication system, dedicated to the expres- sion of a surprisingly constrained set of meanings. This characterization calls for an account of the evolution of lan- guage in terms of the interaction between cultural and genetic evolution. We develop such an evolutionary model on the basis of the mechanism of culturally-driven genetic assimilation. As we show, a careful analysis of the diverse effects of this mechanism derives some of the most crucial properties of the evolved linguistic capacity as a specific, functional communication system.

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