Forever united: the co-evolution of language and normativity
Ehud Lamm, Forever united: the co-evolution of language and normativity. In D. Dor, C. Knight, & J. Lewis (Eds.), The social origins of language: Studies in the evolution of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014 [PDF ]
Language and norms are both fundamental to human society. A social account of language evolution must take into account the normative context in which language acquisition, use, and change occur. However, at the same time, norms in human society are directly affected by language and the linguistic skills of individuals. My aim in this chapter is to explore the evolutionary consequences of this bi-directional interaction. I discuss how it can help explain central linguistic notions including imperatives, questions, possessives, modal vocabulary, categorization, and performatives, and how it helps explain unique features of human normativity.