Word as object: A view of language at hand


Here we develop a view of language as a form of material engagement, one that foregrounds its embodied and ecological character. Achieving such a view, however, requires disabusing ourselves of certain received and deeply entrenched notions. We present a thought experiment meant to illuminate the materiality of language, as a technological activity on par with the construction and manipulation of artifacts. We explore its implications, justifying the comparison with actual languages while emphasizing revealing differences. Ultimately, we hope to expose the embodied and enactive nature of language, offering a view of language as continuous with our engagement with the environment, as opposed to a picture of language as an essentially symbolic system or code.

Publication Title

Journal of Cognition and Culture