11 research outputs found

    Does the environment shape gender marking in mimed stories?

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    Experimental Semiotics: A Systematic Categorization of Experimental Studies on the Bootstrapping of Communication Systems

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    Experimental Semiotics (ES) is the study of novel forms of communication that communicators develop in laboratory tasks whose designs prevent them from using language. Thus, ES relates to pragmatics in a ÔÇťpure,ÔÇŁ radical sense, capturing the process of creating the relation between signs and their interpreters as biological, psychological, and social agents. Since such a creation of meaning-making from scratch is of central importance to language evolution research, ES has become the most prolific experimental approach in this field of research. In our paper, we report the results of a study on the scope of recent ES and evaluate the ways in which it is relevant to the study of language origins. We coded for multiple levels across 13 dimensions related to the properties of the emergent communication systems or properties of the study designs, such as type of goal (coordination versus referential), modality of communication, absence or presence of turn-taking, or the presence of vertical vs. horizontal transmission. We discuss our findings and our classification, focusing on the advantages and limitations of those trends in ES, and in particular their ecological validity in the context of bootstrapping communication and the evolution of language

    Does the environment shape gender marking in mimed stories?

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    We rated video recordings of participants playing a charades-like semiotic game, where they took turns miming stories and picking the sequence of pictures that best suited what was mimed. The stories had one (male or female) or two characters (male and female). Although there was no pressure to disambiguate between the characters, most of the participants did so by producing iconic or indexical gender markers. Our analysis shows that when the gender of the characters in a story (the referent environment) matched the gender of the participants (the physical environment), the participants were more likely to use indexes rather than icons (p < 0.05, ╬▓ = 1.4247). These results complement research on the role of the environment in the emergence of language-like structures and their systematicity in silent gesture tasks (e.g. N├Âlle et al. 2018)

    Constraints on communicating the order of events in stories through pantomime

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    Pantomime is a means of bodily visual communication that is based on iconic gestures that are not fully conventional. It has become a key element in many models of language evolution and a strong candidate for the original human-specific communicative system (Zlatev et al. 2020). Although pantomime affords successful communication in many contexts, it has some semiotic limitations. In this study, we looked at one of them, connected with communicating the order of events in stories. We assumed that pantomime is well-suited for communicating simple stories, where events are arranged in chronological order, and less so for communicating complex stories, where events are arranged in a non-chronological order. To test this assumption, we designed a semiotic game in which participants took turns as directors and matchers. The task of the directors was to mime a story in one of two conditions: chronological or non-chronological; the task of the matchers was to interpret what was mimed. The results showed that the chronological condition was easier for the participants. In the non-chronological condition, we observed that initially, poor communicative success improved as the participants started to use various markers of event order. The results of our study provide insight into the early stages of conventionalisation in bodily visual communication, a potential first step towards protolanguage

    WhatÔÇÖs in a mime? : An exploratory analysis of predictors of communicative success of pantomime

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    Several lines of research within developmental psychology, experimental semiotics and language origins studies have recently converged in their interest in pantomime as a system of bodily communication distinct from both language (spoken or signed) and nonlinguistic gesticulation. These approaches underscore the effectiveness of pantomime, which despite lack of semiotic conventions is capable of communicating complex meanings. However, very little research is available on the structural underpinnings of this effectiveness, that is, the specific properties of pantomime that determine its communicative success. To help fill in this gap, we conducted an exploratory rating study aimed at identifying those properties of pantomime that facilitate its understanding. We analysed an existing corpus of 602 recordings of whole-body re-enactments of short transitive events, coding each of them for 6 properties, and found out that the presence of salient elements (conspicuous objects in a specific semantic space), image mapping (representing the physical orientation of the object), and gender markers (distinguishing between the represented characters) increased the guessability of pantomimes

    Evolution of conventional communication : A cross-cultural study of pantomimic re-enactments of transitive events

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    This study addresses the postulate of non-conventionality of pantomime, inherent in pantomimic scenarios of language origin. Since lack of semiotic conventions does not preclude micro-conventions resulting from cultural differences, pantomimes should be easier to interpret when the actor and recipient share the same culture than between two different cultures. In the study, Italian and Polish amateur ÔÇťactorsÔÇŁ re-enacted transitive events from a matrix of cartoon-like drawings. Randomly selected clips were matched by Polish and Italian participants to the corresponding drawings. We found no difference in the number of correct guesses when the actors and matchers were from the same versus from different cultures. We discuss this result in the context of the core assumptions of pantomimic scenarios of language origin

    Staging Henry James: A Memory

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    Rama wa┼╝niejsza od obrazu: ÔÇ×Portret damyÔÇŁ w teatrze

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    Studia Humanitatis: Promises and Challenges

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    In the Tower of Babel of todayÔÇÖs academe not so much languages as metaphors have been mixed. Although the division of knowledge into the humanities and the sciences is being increasingly contested in the wake of the failed attempt to bridge the gap by postmodernist scholars, the dividing line still lingers in popular imagination. In this context cognitive studies pursued by representatives of both parties and numerous disciplines within each arise as the real third space where the new lingua franca (in fact, lingua anglica) may allow scholars from various fields and cultural backgrounds to compare their understanding of metaphors and synergize their activities to achieve shared aims

    Play Frames in Narratives: Some Implications of Considering Storytelling Practices as Anchored in Play-Pretend

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    This paper dwells on the trend of considering storytelling practices as anchored in play-pretend (e.g. Boyd 2009) and attempts at pointing to some of the implications of such an approach that have not so far been discussed, such as the problem of proper framing of a narrative, i.e. a story told. In order to provide the instances of possible framing designs and signals for narratives, the paper first outlines the general characteristics of play in animals that seem significant from the perspective of this very undertaking; then, it elaborates on the theory of art ÔÇô and storytelling ÔÇô as adaptation evolved from play (cf. Boyd 2009). Subsequently, it discusses play frames and pre-play exchange, as understood, primarily, by Gregory Bateson (1972), and, finally, applies these to the study of narrative media and forms
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