Publication 5651

Kravchenko A. (2007) Essential properties of language or why language is not a code. Language Sciences 29: 650–671. Fulltext at
Despite a strong tradition of viewing coded equivalence as the underlying principle of linguistic semiotics, it lacks the power needed to understand and explain language as an empirical phenomenon characterized by complex dynamics. Applying the biology of cognition to the nature of the human cognitive/linguistic capacity as rooted in the dynamics of reciprocal causality between an organism and the world, we can show language to be connotational rather than denotational. This leaves no room for the various ‘code-models’ of language exploited in traditional linguistics. Bio-cognitive analysis leads to deeper insights into the essence of language as a biologically based, cognitively motivated, circularly organized semiotic activity in a consensual domain of interactions aimed at adapting to, and, ultimately, gaining control of the environment. The understanding that cognition is grounded in the dynamics of biological self-organization fits both the integrational model of communication and distributed cognition. A short discussion of the key notions of representation, sign and signification, interpretation, intentionality, communication, and reciprocal causality is offered, showing that the notion of ‘code’ is only misleadingly applied to natural language.

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