Why is language well designed for communication?

  • Jean-Louis Dessalles
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences, October 2008, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s0140525x08005098

Why is language well designed for communication? (Commentary)

What is it about?

Cultural selection explains no more than universal grammar why language is so well-designed for communicative efficiency. It does not predict several distinctive features of language like central embedding, large lexicons or the lack of iconicity, that seem to serve communication purposes at the expense of learnability.

Why is it important?

This short paper explains why functional accounts of the existence of language are needed.


Jean-Louis Dessalles

This short paper should alert people who think that language does exist for its numerous "obvious" advantages.

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The following have contributed to this page: Jean-Louis Dessalles