1 Department of Language and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, SDU2 Centre for Human Interactivity, Department of Language and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, SDU3 Department of Language and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, SDU
To view language as a cultural tool challenges much of what claims to be linguistic science while opening up a new people-centred linguistics. On this view, how we speak, think and act depends on, not just brains (or minds), but also cultural traditions. Yet, Everett is conservative: like others trained in distributional analysis, he reifies ‘words’. Though rejecting inner languages and grammatical universals, he ascribes mental reality to a lexicon. Reliant as he is on transcriptions, he takes the cognitivist view that brains represent word-forms. By contrast, in radical embodied cognitive theory, bodily dynamics themselves act as cues to meaning. Linguistic exostructures resemble tools that constrain how people concert acting-perceiving bodies. The result is unending renewal of verbal structures: like artefacts and institutions, they function to sustain a species-specific cultural ecology. As Ross (2007) argues, ecological extensions make human cognition hypersocial. When we link verbal patterns with lived experience, we communicate and cognise by fitting action/perception to cultural practices that anchor human meaning making.
Pragmatics and Cognition, 2012, Vol 20, Issue 2, p. 275-294