Publication details [#64059]

Hodges, Bert H. 2018. Carrying, caring, and conversing. Constraints on the emergence of cooperation, conformity, and language. Interaction Studies 18 (1) : 26–54.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


Social and ecological research and theory are used to elaborate and enrich two important sets of accounts of language origins. One is the interdependence and shared intentionality hypothesis (e.g., Tomasello, 2014a) of the ways in which humans became cooperative and conforming in ways that other apes did not, eventually leading to language. A second set of accounts addresses the emergence of bipedalism and its connections to language and to many other anatomical, cognitive, and social features that are distinctive in humans. Particular attention is given to the carrying and caretaking of infants. Research and theory challenging common assumptions about the role of conformity in cooperation and conversation are reviewed and integrated into these accounts. Together these varying perspectives point toward a more dialogical, dynamic, and distributed understanding of social interactions and the values that motivate and constrain humans’ social and linguistic skills. Keywords: caring, bipedalism, carrying, language evolution, divergence, social learning, cooperation, conformity, values