View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Linguistics, University of Manchester Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Restricted access

Linguistics and evolutionary biology have substantially diverged until recently. The chief reason for this divergence was the dominance of essentialist thinking in linguistics during the twentieth century. Croft (2000) describes a thoroughgoing application of Hull's (1988) generalized theory of selection to language change. In this model, tokens of linguistic structure in utterances ('linguemes') are replicators and speakers are interactors. Current debates in the philosophy of evolutionary biology (e.g. Sterelny and Griffiths, 1999) are then applied to language change. Hull's generalized theory is post-synthesis: it recognizes a distinction between replicator and interactor and is independent of levels of biological organization. Biological issues such as mechanisms of inheritance (e.g. Lamarckism) and of selection (e.g. intentional behavior) are simply irrelevant to the generalized theory of selection outside biology. However, there are many striking parallels between biological evolution and language change that are likely to be consequences of the generalized theory of selection, including flexibility of adaptation to the environment, emergent structure, evolutionary conservatism, vestigial traits, exaptation, and the absence of “progress”. The evolutionary theory of language change is not evolutionary psychology, but it is mimetics; this approach is defended against Sterelny and Griffith's criticisms.

  • Hawkins, J. A. (1994): A Performance Theory of Order and Constituency. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    A Performance Theory of Order and Constituency , ().

  • Hull, D. L. (1988): Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

    Science as a Process: An Evolutionary Account of the Social and Conceptual Development of Science , ().

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Heine, B., Claudi, U. and Hünnemeyer, F. (1991): Grammaticalization: A Conceptual Framework. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

    Grammaticalization: A Conceptual Framework , ().

  • Hopper, P. and Traugott, E. (1993): Grammaticalization. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Grammaticalization , ().

  • Martinet, A. (1952): Function, structure and sound change. Word 8:1-32.

    'Function, structure and sound change ' () 8 Word : 1 -32.

  • Jackendoff, R. (1997): Twistin' the night away. Language 73:534-559.

    'Twistin' the night away ' () 73 Language : 534 -559.

  • Milroy, J. (1992): Linguistic Variation and Change. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Linguistic Variation and Change , ().

  • Matthews, P. H. (1993): Grammatical Theory in the United States from Bloomfield to Chomsky. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Grammatical Theory in the United States from Bloomfield to Chomsky , ().

  • Milroy, J. and Milroy, L. (1985): Linguistic change, social network and speaker innovation. Journal of Linguistics 21:339-384.

    'Linguistic change, social network and speaker innovation ' () 21 Journal of Linguistics : 339 -384.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Milroy, L. (1987): Language and Social Networks, 2nd edition. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Language and Social Networks , ().

  • Ridley, M. (1993): Analysis of the Burgess Shale. Paleobiology 19:519-521.

    'Analysis of the Burgess Shale ' () 19 Paleobiology : 519 -521.

  • Sapir, E. (1921): Language. Harcourt, Brace & World, New York.

    Language , ().

  • Saussure, F. (1916/1966): Course in General Linguistics. Transl. W. Baskin. McGraw-Hill, New York. [Cours de linguistique générale, ed. Bally, Ch. and Sechehaye, A. 1916.]

  • Sterelny, K. and Griffiths, P. E. (1999): Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

    Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology , ().

  • Trudgill, P. (1983): On Dialect. New York University Press, New York.

    On Dialect , ().

  • Trudgill, P. (1986): Dialects in Contact. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Dialects in Contact , ().

  • Bloomfield, L. (1933): Language. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, NY.

    Language , ().

  • Chomsky, N. (1965): Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

    Aspects of the Theory of Syntax , ().

  • Clark, H. H. (1996): Using Language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Using Language , ().

  • Clark, H. H. (1998): Communal lexicons. In Malmkjaer, K. and Williams, J. (eds): Context in Language Learning and Language Understanding. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 63-87.

    Context in Language Learning and Language Understanding , () 63 -87.

  • Comrie, B. (1989): Language Universals and Linguistic Typology, 2nd edition. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

    Language Universals and Linguistic Typology , ().

  • Gould, S. J. and Lewontin, R. C. (1978): The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 205: 581-598.

    'The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme ' () 205 Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B : 581 -598.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Gould, S. J. and Vrba, E. S. (1982): Exaptation: a missing term in the science of form. Paleobiology 8:4-15.

    'Exaptation: a missing term in the science of form ' () 8 Paleobiology : 4 -15.

  • Greenberg, J. H. (1966): Some universals of grammar with particular reference to the order of meaningful elements. In Greenberg, J. H. (ed.): Universals of Grammar, 2nd edition. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 73-113.

    Universals of Grammar , () 73 -113.

  • Greenberg, J. H. (1974): Language Typology: A Historical and Analytic Overview. (Janua Linguarum, Series Minor 184.) Mouton, The Hague.

  • Haiman, J. (1985): Natural Syntax. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Natural Syntax , ().

  • Haspelmath, M. (1999): Optimality and diachronic adaptation. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 18:180-205.

    'Optimality and diachronic adaptation ' () 18 Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft : 180 -205.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Joseph, B. D. (1992): Diachronic explanation: putting speakers back into the picture. In Davis, G. W. and Iverson, G. K. (eds): Explanations in Historical Linguistics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 123-144.

    Explanations in Historical Linguistics , () 123 -144.

  • Keller, R. (1990/1994): On Language Change: The Invisible Hand in Language. Routledge, London. (Translation and expansion of Sprachwandel.)

  • Kirby, S. (1997): Competing motivations and emergence: Explaining implicational hierarchies. Linguistic Typology 1:5-31.

    'Competing motivations and emergence: Explaining implicational hierarchies ' () 1 Linguistic Typology : 5 -31.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Koerner, K. (1989): Antoine Meillet, Saussure et la linguistique générale: Une question ď'influence'. In Koerner, K. (ed.) Practicing Linguistic Historiography. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 401-415.

    Practicing Linguistic Historiography , () 401 -415.

  • Labov, W. (1972): Sociolinguistic Patterns. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA.

    Sociolinguistic Patterns , ().

  • Croft, W. (1999): Some contributions of typology to cognitive linguistics (and vice versa). In Janssen, Th. and Redeker, G.: Cognitive Linguistics: Foundations, Scope and Methodology. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 61-93.

    Cognitive Linguistics: Foundations, Scope and Methodology , () 61 -93.

  • Croft, W. (2000): Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach. Longman, Harlow, Essex.

    Explaining Language Change: An Evolutionary Approach , ().

  • Croft, W. (2001): Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Radical Construction Grammar: Syntactic Theory in Typological Perspective , ().

  • Croft, W. (2003): Typology and Universals, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Typology and Universals , ().

  • El-Hani, C. (2001): Emergence, downward causation and the reality of the emergents. Paper presented at the 2001 Meeting of the International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Study of Biology, Quinnipiac, CT.

  • Ferguson, C. A. and Farwell, C. B. (1975): Words and sounds in early language acquisition. Language 51: 491-439.

    'Words and sounds in early language acquisition ' () 51 Language : 491 -439.

  • Fillmore, C. J., Kay, P. and O'Connor, M. K. (1988): Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: the case of let alone. Language 64:501-538.

    'Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: the case of let alone ' () 64 Language : 501 -538.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Givón, T. (1979): On Understanding Grammar. Academic Press, New York, NY.

    On Understanding Grammar , ().

  • Givón, T. (1985): Iconicity, isomorphism and nonarbitrary coding in syntax. In Haiman, J. (ed.): Iconicity in Syntax. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 187-220.

    Iconicity in Syntax , () 187 -220.

  • Goldberg, A. E. (1995): Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.

    Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure , ().

  • Labov, W. (1982): Building on empirical foundations. In Leh-Mann, W. P. and Malkiel, Y. (eds): Perspectives on Historical Linguistics. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 17-92.

    Perspectives on Historical Linguistics , () 17 -92.

  • Labov, W. (1994): Principles of Linguistic Variation, Vol. I: Internal Factors. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Principles of Linguistic Variation, Vol. I: Internal Factors , ().

  • Labov, W. (2001): Principles of Linguistic Variation, Vol. II: Social Factors. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Principles of Linguistic Variation, Vol. II: Social Factors , ().

  • Langacker, R. W. (1987): Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, Vol. I: Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford University Press, Stanford.

    Foundations of Cognitive Grammar, Vol. I: Theoretical Prerequisites , ().

  • LePage, R. B. AND Tabouret-Keller, A. (1985): Acts of Identity. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Acts of Identity , ().

  • Lewis, D. (1969): Convention. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

    Convention , ().

  • Nettle, D. (1999): Functionalism and its difficulties in biology and linguistics. In Darnell, M., Moravcsik, E., New-Meyer, F., Noonan, M. and Wheatley, K. (eds): Functionalism and Formalism in Linguistics, vol. 1. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 445-467.

    Functionalism and Formalism in Linguistics , () 445 -467.

  • Oyama, S. (1985/2000): The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution, 2nd edition. Duke University Press, Durha, NC.

    The Ontogeny of Information: Developmental Systems and Evolution , ().

  • Peters, A. M. and Menn, L. (1993): False starts and filler syllables: ways to learn grammatical morphemes. Language 69:742-777.

    'False starts and filler syllables: ways to learn grammatical morphemes ' () 69 Language : 742 -777.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Popper, K. R. (1959): The Logic of Scientific Discovery. Harper, New York. (Translation of Logik der Forschung, Vienna, 1934.)

  • Ridley, M. (1986): Evolution and Classification: The Reformulation of Cladism. Longman, London.

    Evolution and Classification: The Reformulation of Cladism , ().

  • Ridley, M. (1990): Dreadful beasts: A review of S. J. Gould's Wonderful Life. London Review of Books (28 June): 11-12.

  • Trudgill, P. (1989): Contact and isolation in linguistic change. In Breivik, L. E. and Jahr, E. H. (eds): Language Change: Contributions to the Study of its Causes. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 227-237.

    Language Change: Contributions to the Study of its Causes , () 227 -237.

  • Trudgill, P. (1992): Dialect typology and social structure. In Jahr, E. H. (ed.): Language Contact and Language Change. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp. 195-212.

    Language Contact and Language Change , () 195 -212.

  • Trudgill, P. (1996): Dialect typology: isolation, social network and phonological structure. In Guy, G. R., Reagin, C., Schiffrin, D. and Baugh, J. (eds): Towards a Social Science of Language, Vol. I: Variation and Change in Language and Society. John Benjamins, Amsterdam, pp. 3-21.

    Towards a Social Science of Language, Vol. I: Variation and Change in Language and Society , () 3 -21.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Vihman, M. M. (1996): Phonological Development: The Origins of Language in the Child. Blackwell, Oxford.

    Phonological Development: The Origins of Language in the Child , ().

  • Weinreich, U., Labov, W. and Herzog, M. I. (1968): Empirical foundations for a theory of language change. In Lehmann, W. P. and Malkiel, Y. (eds): Directions for Historical Linguistics. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, pp. 95-195.

    Directions for Historical Linguistics , () 95 -195.

  • Wimsatt, W. C. and Schank, J. C. (1988): Two constraints on the evolution of complex adaptations and the means of their avoidance. In Nitecki, M. H. (ed.), Evolutionary Progress. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, pp. 231-275.

    Evolutionary Progress , () 231 -275.

Monthly Content Usage

Abstract Views Full Text Views PDF Downloads
Nov 2020 6 1 0
Dec 2020 10 0 0
Jan 2021 8 0 0
Feb 2021 13 0 0
Mar 2021 14 0 0
Apr 2021 3 0 0
May 2021 0 0 0