Complex imitation and the language-ready brain

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Arbib, M.A.
Year of Publication: 2013
Journal: Language and Cognition
Volume: 5
Issue: 2-3
Number: 2-3
Pagination: 273-312
Date Published: 09/2013
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: (Online) 1866-9859
Keywords: Aphasia, apraxia, brain; primate communication, human origins, Imitation, language evolution, Mirror neurons, mirror systems, pantomime, proposing, Protolanguage, protospeech, schema theory, Sign language

The present article responds to commentaries from experts in anthropology, apraxia, archeology, linguistics, neuroanatomy, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, neuropsychology, primatology, sign language emergence and sign language neurolinguistics on the book How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis (Arbib 2012). The role of complex imitation is discussed, and the distinction between protolanguage and language is emphasized. Issues debated include the role of protosign in scaffolding protospeech, the interplay between biological evolution of the brain and cultural evolution of the social interactions within groups, the relations brain mechanisms for action and language, and the question of when language first emerged.