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date: 24 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter interprets grammar (morpho-syntax) as an adaptive product of human evolution. It situates grammar within the rise of the two mega-functions of human language: cognitive representation and communication. It then points out that grammar is not primarily about representation, be it lexical or propositional, but rather about communication. Within such an adaptive framework, the article suggests that the communicative function of grammar easily translates into classical Gricean terms; that is, the speaker's ever-shifting mental representation, during ongoing communication, of their interlocutor's ever-shifting deontic (intentional) and epistemic (belief) states. Grammar is thus a structured, highly automated mechanism for representing and manipulating the mind of the other during ongoing communication. The chapter, lastly, situates the evolution of grammar within the adaptive ecological context of early communication

Keywords: grammar, cognition, evolution, adaptive, theories of mind

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