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Natural and cultural layers in the discursive becoming of language as a semiotic system

From the book Volume 2

  • Zdzisław Wąsik


The subject matter of this paper constitutes a historical-evolutionary approach to language as an individual property of its speakers and learners. Language, here, is viewed from the perspective of its ‘becoming’ in ecologically determined speech communities. The notion of becoming is referred to as the continuous changeability of language through its discursive realization in texts, understood as collective assemblages of meaningful enunciations, as well as through transgenerational transmissions of inborn linguistic aptitudes and conventionally established means of verbal signification and communication. The discussion starts with an enumeration of observable and inferrable modes in which language exists as a semiotic system against the background of divergent evolutionism or convergent diffusionism, stating that languages have a mixed character while splitting up into new branches, or influencing each other through the dissemination of changes. The semiotic expressivity of humans is shown to be a conflation, or a set of binary relations, formed by a multiplicity of interconnected points, or linkage positions, in intentional productions and utilizations of verbal signs, referring to virtual, or actual, things and states of affairs, which form the signified and communicated reality of everyday life. Thus, the natural and cultural layers of language are regarded as potential tiers originating from the innate character of the speech faculty. This faculty is embedded in the hereditarily neuronal centres of human brains enabling people to communicate by the use of verbal means of signification through the implementation of certain physiological techniques. It is assumed that these layers might have emerged as a result of evolutionary adaptations of human organisms to their natural and artificial surroundings, through the extension of communicational abilities that already existed in their genetic memory.

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