From the pragmatics of charades to the creation of language

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We agree with Heintz & Scott-Phillips that pragmatics does not supplement, but is prior to and underpins, language. Indeed, human non-linguistic communication is astonishingly rich, flexible, and subtle, as we illustrate through the game of charades, where people improvise communicative signals when linguistic channels are blocked. The route from non-linguistic charade-like communication to combinatorial language involves (1) local processes of conventionalization and grammaticalization and (2) spontaneous order arising from mutual constraints between different communicative signals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere7
JournalThe Behavioral and brain sciences
Pages (from-to)e7
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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