Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behavior - Vol. 1

Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behavior - Vol. 1

Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behavior - Vol. 1

Language in Relation to a Unified Theory of the Structure of Human Behavior - Vol. 1

Excerpt

1.1 An Illustration of the Need for a Unified Theory

In a certain party game people start by singing a stanza which begins Under the spreading chestnut tree. . . Then they repeat the stanza to the same tune but replace the word spreading with a quick gesture in which the arms are extended rapidly outward, leaving a vocal silence during the length of time which would otherwise have been filled by singing. On the next repetition the word spreading gives place to the gesture, as before, and in addition the syllable chest is omitted and the gap is filled with a gesture of thumping the chest. On the succeeding repetition the head is slapped instead of the syllable nut being uttered; in another round the arms may be extended upward as a gesture to replace tree. Finally, after further repetitions and replacements, there may be left only a few connecting words like the, and a sequence of gestures performed in unison to the original timing of the song.

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