You're Speaking My Language

1530 Words7 Pages
Language; we use it everyday. From describing portraits to our family and friends, or calling out plays during a football game with our classmates, people utilize language every moment. But how did this “language” evolve? Daniel Dor, an Israeli linguist, created a theory of Language as a Communication Technology, which is “a new general framework for the description, analysis and explanation of language as a socially-constructed communication technology, designed by cultural evolution to allow for communication across the experiential gaps between its users.” Dor argues that language is related to it's function of communicating to others rather than being and “organ” as seen in Chomsky's argument. Dor's view also differs from the Functionalist viewpoint, though ever-so slightly; functionalists argue that language developed due to morphological changes such as larger brain size. Dor argues that language developed though cultural evolution, being learned and improved on by every generation. Utilizing Dor's language theory, Eva Jabonka and Marion J. Lamb argue that the “evolution of language [is] the outcome of continuous interactions between the cultural and genetic inheritance system, with both niche construction and genetic assimilation being important.” (pg 307) Although this argument is presented strongly by Jablonka and Lamb, it needs to be tested for validity. This argument will only be valid “... if and only if it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false.”

The first premise is that a language culturally develops from incoherent babble to a sophisticated linguistic system. Jablonka and Lamb show this idea in the introduction of their thought experiment. In this experiment, there are a group of early...

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...language to evolve, causing the conclusion to be true as well. Therefore, based on the definition of validity, this argument is valid.
Although the conclusion is inductively proven to be valid, that does not mean that the conclusion is sound. This idea of genetic and cultural systems is still relatively new, and it needs more evidence in order to become a sound conclusion. In addition to the evidence, there are other ideas that still seem relevant to the development of language. The Chomsky and functionalist views are still being debated over, so this interaction idea is not solidified as the “end-all” of how language developed. As stated before, the conclusion is valid, based upon the inductive reasoning presented by the thought experiment. However, the soundness of the conclusion cannot be proven due to the highly debatable ideas presented by thought experiment.
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