David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (4):531-532 (1998)
This commentary supports MacNeilage's dismissal of an evolutionary development from sign language to spoken language but presents evidence of a feature in sign language (echo phonology) that links iconic signs to abstract vocal syllables. These data provide an insight into possible mechanism by which iconic manual gestures accompanied by vocalisation could have provided a route for the evolution of spoken language with its characteristically arbitrary form–meaning relationship.
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