The Origins and Nature of Language
Publisher: Indiana University Press
xxix+332p with bibliography and index. Royal octavo (9 1/2" 6 1/2) issued in yellow cloth with lettering in brown on spine. Translated by Susan Petrell. 1st American edition.
Giorgio Fano's classic study traces the origins of language and in the process describes the make-up of language. The first partial editon of this book appeared in 1962 under the title Saggio sulle origini del linguaggio (Essay on the Origins of Language). The First Englished translation is based on the expanded Italian edition (1973). Theorizing mimetic/gestural language as the basis of verbal language, Fano devotes a great deal of attention to nonverbal signs. Such an approach puts his book at the very center of the current debate in the science of signs. Althoug in accordance with the work of Charles Sanders Peirce, Fano's approach causes him to take a clear stance against the phonocentrism of, among others, Jacques Derrida. Fano demonstrates that the nature of language is charcterized not only by conventionality but also by indexicality (the gesture) and by iconicity (mimicry, similarity, images). This book also offers an historical survey of theories on language origin through the ages; a general classification of expressive signs; a critique of the confusion between esthetics and semantics (or linuistics) on the one hand (with reference to Croce and Vossler), and between semantics and logic on the other (for example the neo-positivists); and, last but not least, informationon artificial languages, which are of particular interest in light of recent developments in cybernetics and advanced technology. The Origins and Nature of Language will be of interest not only to scholars in linguistics and semiotics, but also to anthropolgists and cultural and intellectual historians.
Near fine in a fine jacket.
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