Mankind is the only speaking species on earth. Hence language is supposed to have a genetic basis, no matter whether it relies on general intelligence, or on a linguistic module. This study proposes that universal formal properties of the linguistic code emerged from the genetic code through duplication. The proportion of segmental duplication is clearly higher in the human genome than in any other species, and duplication took place 6 million years ago when humans separated from the other hominid branches. The evolution of language is therefore supposed to be a gradual process with a break. This book describes a lot of striking formal resemblances the genetic code and the linguistic code hold in common. The book aims to reconcile generative grammar with cognitive semiotics showing that both of them constitute instances of embodiment.
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2005. 182 pp.
Contents: Genetic code – Linguistic code – Origin of language – Embodiment – Generative grammar – Cognitive semiotics – Genome
duplication – Phrase structure – Text structure – Universals of language – Language evolution.