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On the Origin of Language [Format Kindle]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau , Johann Gottfried Herder , John H. Moran , Alexander Gode

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Présentation de l'éditeur

This volume combines Rousseau's essay on the origin of diverse languages with Herder's essay on the genesis of the faculty of speech. Rousseau's essay is important to semiotics and critical theory, as it plays a central role in Jacques Derrida's book Of Grammatology, and both essays are valuable historical and philosophical documents.

Biographie de l'auteur

John H. Moran is associate professor of philosophy at Manhattan College. Alexander Gode was professor of German at New York University.

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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 brilliant and highly original 18 mars 2012
Par jafrank - Publié sur
A short easy read, and one that offers a highly original conception of how language developed. Rousseau's observation that written language and spoken language are two separate animals seems right on the dot, but the real brilliance of this piece is how he is capable of situating this observation in a larger framework that shows how the transition to written language signifies a change in economic and political power dynamics and how it can lead to a sort of social/cultural malaise that would really only start to get examined a few centuries later. I guess the only thing I didn't like about it was his over-idealization of pre-agrarian society, which really bugged the hell out of me. That being said, its a strong piece and its not hard to see why its been so influential over the years. If nothing else, its pretty damn funny to listen to a Frenchmen explain why he is so disgusted with his own language
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Very problematic, kind of interesting 24 novembre 2014
Par Sal - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Many of Rousseau's concepts are quite racist and orientalist ("Arabs are known to have 1000 words for camel"), but if you are able to critically (very critically) ((very very critically)) read his essay with a sociological perspective, you may be able to learn something about language/semiotics/epistemology, or the ubiquity of racism in academia.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I love having this on my kindle 23 janvier 2015
Par Kelsey Gibby - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I love having this on my kindle! It is so easy to navigate, look up words I don't know, and it's great to see popular highlights from other readers.
3 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A Rousseaunian View of the Origin of Language 3 juin 2008
Par Eliezer Oyola - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
"On the Origin of Language" is a Romantic take on a most controversial subject. Rousseau's argument is that language did not originate as an evolutionary need to communicate thoughts for pragmatic social or economic purposes but for passionate reasons. Early man, in order to woo and conquest the female successfully, needed to develop a language adequate enough to persuade the female to surrender to his passion. Feelings and not thoughts provided the main thrust for the evolution of human language. To support his theory, Rousseau argues that all creatures in Nature already possessed a language adequate enough to communicate such practical needs as the mating call, the announcement of a source of food, or the approach of a predator. Such language consisted of screams, yelps, warbles, screeching, hissing, or roaring, where the sense of hearing was employed. Others employed the sense of sight through displaying colorful plumage, performing ritualistic dances, and the like. And still others deployed the sense of smell by emitting various odors, such as the smell of estrus to attract the male, the smell of feces or urine in marking their territory, etc. Speech, the language of humans, according to Rousseau, originated for the Donjuanesque display of love rhetoric. Today we are aware of the existence of a bicameral brain, where language is processed in the realm of the left hemisphere, the area appropriate for reasoned thought rather than feeling. This seems to contradict Rousseau's theory, since passion belongs in the right brain hemisphere. According to some anthropologists and neuroscientists, the left brain evolved much later than the right brain. Rational thinking, therefore, is a recent adaptation in "Homo sapiens." Linguists point out that speech or talking is the exclusive possession of the human species, "the talking animal." The question remains as to whether speech began before or after the evolving of the left hemisphere. Whether or not we accept all of Rousseau's arguments on the origin of language, his contribution to that field of research is an important one. He would be a must in any attempt to write the history of the question of the origin of language.
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