Beyond Anthropocentrism in Comparative Cognition: Recentering Animal Linguistics
Philippe Schlenker, Camille Coye, Shane Steinert-Threlkeld, Nathan Klinedinst, Emmanuel Chemla
November 2022

We argue that the field of animal communication is excessively focused on hard-to-reconstruct relations between animal communication and human language. We propose that this research should be recentered on an animal 'linguistics', with four benefits: a comparative approach could give rise to a rich typology of animal languages; it could be extended with an evolutionary approach aiming at reconstructing mechanisms that are shared due to common descent vs. convergent evolution; it could revisit the significance (or lack thereof) of potential continuities between animal and human languages; and a detail-oriented and comparative approach could benefit from the expertise of linguists while eschewing weakly supported claims of similarity between animal and human languages.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006851
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Cognitive Science 2022
keywords: animal linguistics, linguistics, animal communication, language evolution, semantics, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v1 [October 2022]
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