Linguistik-Klassifikation: Sprachtheorie / Theory of language
The origin and nature of the linguistic parasite
Frederik H. H. Kortlandt
- 1. The functionalist’s view: linguistic forms are instruments used to convey meaningful elements. This is the basis of European structuralism. 2. The formalist’s view: linguistic forms are abstract structures which can be filled with meaningful elements. This is the basis of generative grammar. 3. The parasitologist’s view: linguistic forms are vehicles for the reproduction of meaningful elements. This is the view which I advocated twenty years ago in the Festschrift for Werner Winter’s 60th birthday (1985). Here I intend to discuss the evolutionary origin and the physiological nature of the linguistic parasite. My theory of language is wholly consistent with Gerald Edelman’s theory of neuronal group selection.