Combined Academic Publishers

Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language

9780253113702: Hardback
Release Date: 22nd September 1993

Series Advances in Semiotics

Indiana University Press

Vico, Metaphor, and the Origin of Language

Hardback / £21.99

"... serious scholars of Vico as well as glottogeneticists will find much of value in this excellent monograph." —New Vico Studies

"... a provocative, well-researched argument which might find reapplication in the fields of anthropology, semiotics, archeology, psychology or even philosophy." —Theological Book Review

Danesi returns to the work of the 18th-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico to create a persuasive, original account of the evolution and development of language, one of the deep mysteries of human existence. The Vichian reconstruction of the origin of language is described at length, then evaluated in light of contemporary research in the cognitive, social, and biological sciences.


I. Glottogenetic Theories and Research: A Brief Sketch
Traditional Glottogenetic Theories
Scientific Approaches
The Shape of Contemporary Glottogenetic Theories
The Current State of Knowledge

II. The Primitive Mind: A Vichian Reconstruction
Vico and Anglo-American Science
Previous Work on Vico: A Schematic Survey
The New Science
Basic Vichian Notions
The Primitive Mind

III. Language and the Imagination: The Vichian Glottogenetic Scenario
The Vichian Approach
Reconstructing the Primal Scene
After the Primal Scence

IV. The Dawn of Language: The Iconicity and Visual Mimesis Hypotheses
The Nature of Iconicity
The Research on Imagery, Iconicity, and Gesture
Iconic Representation

V. From Language to Speech: The Audio-Oral Osmosis Hypothesis
Audio-Oral Osmosis
The Ontogenesis of Speech
Language and Speech

VI. From Percepts to Concepts: The Metaphoricity Hypothesis
The Nature of Metaphor
Metaphor and Concept-Formation
Mentation, Narrativity, and Myth

VII. The Sociobiological-Computationist Viewpoint: A Vichian Critique
The Vichian Scenario Revisited
Revisting the Genetic Perspective


MARCEL DANESI is Professor of Semiotics and Italian at the University of Toronto. Among his previous books are Applied Psycholinguistics, Robert A. Hall and American Structuralism, and Loanwords and Phonological Methodology.