Ivan Fonagy
Languages Within Language. An evolutive approach
Foundations of Semiotics 13
John Benjamins
2001. xiv, 828 pp.

There is little hope of reconstructing by means of comparative or typological studies a lingua adamica essentially different from present-day languages. The distant preverbal past is however still present in live speech. Phonetic, syntactic and semantic rule transgressions, far from being products of a deficient output, are governed by a universal iconic apparatus, a sort of 'anti-grammar' or 'proto-grammar' which enables the speaker and the poet to express preconscious and subconscious mental contents that could not be conveyed by means of the grammar of any language. Secondary messages, generated by the proto-grammar are integrated into the primary grammatical message. The two messages whose structural and semantic divergence represents a chronological distance of hundreds of thousands of years, constitute a dialectic unity which characterize natural languages. The evolutive approach offers a different, perhaps better understanding of questions related to dynamic synchrony, vocal and verbal style, poetic language, language change.

Chapters on: Diversity of the lexicon - Dual encoding: vocal style - Syntactic gesturing - Syntactic regressions - Prosodic expression of emotions - Poetry and vocal art - Situation and meaning - A hidden presence: verbal magic - Playing with language: joke and metaphor - Metaphor: a research instrument - Dynamics of poetic language - Semantic structure of possessive constructions - Semantic structure of punctuation marks - Why gestures? - Between acts and words - Language within language: dynamics, change and evolution.






Maintained by Francis F. Steen, Communication Studies, University of California Los Angeles