Note: O. F. Kugelmass has written a brilliant paper about certain tribes in Borneo that do not have a word for "no" in their language and consequently turn down requests by nodding their heads and saying, "I'll get back to you." This corroborates his earlier theories that the urge to be liked at any cost is not socially adaptive but genetic, much the same as the ability to sit through operetta.
–Woody Allen, "By Destiny Denied," The New Yorker, February 23, 1976. By permission.
1. "Zoosemiotics": Notes on Its History, Sense, and Scope
The term zoosemiotics was launched in 1963 and initially proposed as a name "for the discipline, within which the science of signs intersects with ethology, devoted to the scientific study of signalling behavior in and across animal species" (Sebeok, 1972:61). It obviously satisfied a felt need, for—despite some initial resistance, as to any neologism, especially one with overtones of academic jargon—it rapidly diffused in two crisscrossing directions: multidisciplinary and multilingual. It has since been adopted by scholars in a variety of fields, notably biology; and it has penetrated many of the languages of Europe, East and West, and beyond, including Hebrew and Japanese. Outside of scientific writings, the word has cropped up in well-known newspapers, like Le Monde, and magazines, like II Mondo. It was featured in at least one novel by a famous English author, as well as in a balloon emanating from the muzzle of that most distinguished of beagles, Snoopy. Discharging a professional obligation to lexicography, I endeavored until recently to keep track of these migrations, and, on occasion, published at least highlights from the progressive record (Sebeok, 1972: chap. 9; 1976a:57, 86ff.).
This chapter incorporates observations delivered in Milan at the concluding Plenary Session, on June 6, 1974, of the First Congress of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, in the course of an invited presentation on the state of the art of "Nonverbal Communication." Responses to the ensuing discussion from the floor by Geoffrey Broadbent, David Efron, Tomas Maldonado, Christian Metz, and Leo Pap have all been blended into the text. The argument, of course, has been greatly expanded, brought up to date, and refocused to fit the overall purposes of this book.
What was originally intended by this term and what it seems to have come to mean to many others is quite another story, and still a bit perplexing. In most instances zoosemiotics has been used, roughly, as a one-word equivalent for "the study of animal communication," particularly in explicit or at least implicit contrast with "the study of human communication." This restricted usage is, however, far from what the original definition actually implied. In 1970, in a typology of semiotic systems in general, it was clearly specified that "Human semiotic systems are of two kinds: anthroposemiotic, that is, speciesspecific systems of man; and zoosemiotic, that is, those component sub-systems of human communication that are found elsewhere in the animal kingdom as well" (Sebeok, 1972:163). Because of a colossal accretion in semiotic theory and praxis in recent years, accompanied by a wellnigh unmanageable proliferation of literature in animal communication studies, a conceptual cleansing is called for. Is zoosemiotics a useful term? What does it cover? How does all this fit into the vaster framework of general semiotics? Some of the difficulties of terminology and classification, which confront everyone who enters the field of study covered in the preceding chapters, have worried the most thoughtful of its practitioners and observers, but the only thing that is absolutely clear is that we are far from having reached consensus in this area (Hinde, 1972:86-98, 395).
The subject matter of semiotics is, quite simply, messages—any messages whatsoever. Since every message is composed of signs according to some ordered selection, semiotics has been variously identified as the doctrine (Locke, Peirce), or the science (Saussure), or the theory (Morris, Carnap, Eco) of signs. Correspondingly, the study designated semiotics comprises the set of general principles that underlie the structure of all signs, constituting a code, which was defined by Cherry (1966:305) as "an agreed transformation, or set of unambiguous rules, whereby messages are converted from one representation to another." Further, semiotics aims to uncover the ways in which such principles are or may be manifested in diverse messages, and to identify the specifics of particular sign systems, with comparative (including cross-taxonomic) as well as typological, synchronic (both structural and functional) as well as diachronic (both phylogenetic and ontogenetic; cf. section 7, below) ends in view. Semiotics is concerned, successively, with the generation and encoding of messages, their propagation in any sensorially appropriate form of physical energy, their decoding and interpretation. The methods employed by some investigators are more empirical, those by others more analytical. Some prefer to study communication, others signification (Prieto, 1975, for instance, makes much of this distinction). Plainly, however, these tendencies are complementary, each implying the other. (Naturalists, as one would expect, by their inclination and training have leaned toward an empirical approach to animal communication, but solid foundations for an analytical approach to animal signification have also been laid in the classic literature of ethology, notably in von Uexklüll's marvelous 1940 monograph, "Bedeutungslehre" [cf. Sebeok, 1977a, forthcoming].)
If the subject matter of semiotics encompasses any messages whatsoever, the subject matter of linguistics is confined to verbal messages only. The fundamental competence underlying verbal messages is generally assumed to be (1) species-specific, and (2) species-consistent. Species-specificity of the linguistic propensity means that the formal principles we deem sufficient to characterize natural languages (spoken or not) differ radically from those found sufficient to characterize any known system of animal communication, including especially man's socalled nonverbal communication systems. This does not necessarily imply, however, that the neural substrates and/or psychological processes involved need be substantially dissimilar —these are surely secondary and tertiary laminations that are each of a distinct order (cf. Dingwall, 1975). Moreover, this conception of species-specificity does not exclude the possibility of quite sophisticated, though always only partial, code sharing, and hence communication, between man and animal (Hediger, 1967, 1974 generally; Fouts and Rigby, in respect to the man-chimpanzee dyad, chap. 37, this book). Nor is species-consistency necessarily universal, for severely handicapped children may lack the capacity to master language in more than rudimentary fashion (Maison, 1964; Curtiss et al., 1975).
The situation of the verbal code in a semiotic frame has been considered by almost everybody who has written on the subject since Locke (1975 :721). Late in the seventeenth century, he asserted that articulate sounds are the signs "which Men have found the most convenient, and therefore generally make use of. . . ." Linguists—building upon Locke without attribution —generally flatter themselves by at least acquiescing in dicta like Bloomfield's that "Linguistics is the chief contributor to semiotic," or persisting in Weinreich's sentiment that verbal messages constitute "the semiotic phenomenon par excellence" (Sebeok, 1976a: 11-12)—no doubt a conscious rephrasing of Sapir's (1931) "language is the communicative process par excellence in every known society"—just recently reechoed by Greimas (1976:9) in his remark that "la linguistique ... est la plus élaborée des sémiotiques. . .."
It was apparently Saussure who promoted linguistics to the status of a pilot science, or "le patron général de toute sémiologie" (Sebeok, 1976a: 12), a programmatic statement which, when pursued blindly, can lead into many a culde-sac (cf. Marcus, in Sebeok, 1974:287Iff.; see also Polhemus, in Benthall and Polhemus, 1975:20ff.). I have referred to the principle that is usually invoked in this connection as one of "intersemiotic transmutability," which may have been first, or was, at any rate, most insistently enunciated by Hjelmslev (1953:70): "in practice, a language is a semiotic into which all other semiotics may be translated—both all other languages, and all other conceivable semiotic structures." Elsewhere, I have questioned whether this ex cathedra declaration has actual support or remains, as I think, although still much cherished by linguists, hardly more than unsubstantiated dogma. In particular, I tried to show that animal sounds are often incapable of being paraphrased: "one gropes in vain for a set of linguistic signs to substitute instead of the significative unit employed by the speechless creature both to refer to his scarcely understood species-specific code and to the context of delivery, or Umwelt, through which the message fragment is aligned within the observed sequence of signs emitted" (Sebeok, 1976b). Even the transmutation of certain categories of human nonverbal messages into linguistic expression is, at best, likely to introduce gross falsification, or, like most music, altogether defy comprehensible verbal definition. Sapir (1931) put his finger on a "more special class of communicative symbolism," such as the use of railroad lights, bugle calls in the army, or smoke signals, in which "one cannot make a word-to-word translation, as it were, back to speech but can only paraphrase in speech the intent of the communication."
Semiotic systems that are species-specific in man are, then, for convenience, categorized as anthroposemiotic (Sebeok, 1972:163ff., 1976a:3). Language clearly belongs here, not only in its global spoken form but also as a visible means of communication used by a small minority population among a minority of mankind with partial or total hearing impairment and by those associated with such persons (Stokoe, 1972: esp. chap. 1). Here are counted also a wide array of speech surrogates (Sebeok and Umiker-Sebeok, 1976), mute communication systems preserved in certain monasteries (Barakat, 1975), aboriginal sign languages used among native peoples of the Americas and Australia (Sebeok and UmikerSebeok, 1977b), complex (viz., non-isomorphic) transductions into parasitic or restricted formations, like script or other optical displays of the chain of speech signs (the Morse code, or any of the several acoustic alphabets designed to aid the blind, or sound spectrograms), optionally imposed upon chronologically prior acoustic patterns (Kavanagh and Mattingly, 1972), and more or less context-free artificial constructs developed for various scientific or technical purposes (see, e.g., the respective articles by Golopentia-Eretescu, Gross, and Freudenthal in Sebeok, 1974).
Over and above such transfers (Sapir, 1931), transforms, derivatives, and substitutes, there are those macrostructures that are based, in the final analysis, on a natural language, the "primary system" on which culture is superimposed, "regarded as a hierarchy of semiotic systems correlated in pairs, realized through correlation with the system of natural language" (Sebeok, 1975:76-77, 1976a:23n38). Particularly, this is implied by the concept of "secondary modeling systems," propagated chiefly by the MoscowTartu School of semioticians (Eimermacher, 1974; Sebeok, 1975:57-83; Ivanov, 1976; Winner and Winner, 1976). All secondary modeling systems are, therefore, anthroposemiotic by definition.
In a third category that might be reckoned anthroposemiotic are sets of signs affirmed to be uniquely used by man independently of any linguistic infrastructure (although, of course, unavoidably intertwined with verbal effects), but one must exercise great caution with respect to this division. In 1968, I blithely declared that music is "a species-specific, but not species-consistent form of behavior" (Sebeok, 1972:16465). There is ample cause for wonder now if the first part of this allegation is true, and in what way? The relation between human and avian music was thoughtfully reviewed by Joan HallCraggs (Hinde, 1969: chap. 16), with special regard to the nature of the esthetic content of bird song. She concluded that "the form of music remains the privilege of birds and men" (ibid.:380), but suggested that the resemblances between the two varieties of semiosis can best be understood in terms of analogous functional requirements, such as the need to signal to distant listeners. The philosopher Hartshorne (the same, incidentally, who had served as the senior editor of C. S. Peirce's selected papers) has since reexamined the material in even more detail (1973: chap. 3). He characterized bird song as "the best of the subhuman music of nature" (ibid.:39) and declared, "considering the enormous gap between the anatomies and lives of man and bird, it remains astonishing how much musical intelligibility the utterances of the latter have for the former" (ibid.:46).
Investigations in this area have even crystallized into a subdiscipline called "ornithomusicology" by Szöke (1963), who maintains that since birds evolved elaborate musical utterances before we appeared on the scene, it is reasonable to suppose that the development of primitive music was actually stimulated by hearing and mimicking bird vocalizations (cf. remarks by Hewes, Livingstone, and Lomax in Wescott, 1974). Some species of Mysticetes, notably Megaptera novaeangliae, also "produce a series of beautiful and varied sounds," likewise called songs, the function of which is still a matter for much speculation but is usually assumed to serve communicative ends, possibly over great distances (Payne and McVay, 1971:597); these prolonged vocalizations are frequently compared to bird songs, the chief difference being that the latter normally last only a few seconds, whereas those of the humpback whales have a cycling time of up to thirty minutes, their patterns being repeated by individuals with considerable accuracy. Whatever the ultimate merits may be of such cross-taxa comparisons and contrasts between distantly related species occupying only vaguely similar ecological niches (as considered, e.g., in terms of quite abstract geometric patterns by Nelson, 1973:299-300, 324ff.), the facile grouping of music among anthroposemiotic systems appears, in retrospect, to have been premature.
The same can be said, mutatis mutandis, about other nonverbal art forms, for instance, abstract picture-making, a behavior that has been induced in apes (Morris, 1962; Bourne, 1971: chap. 9), and even in capuchin monkeys, with some success. According to the ethologist Andrew Whiten, the taste exhibited by apes—their choice of color, brightness, composition—"provides a unique background against which we may try to understand the origins and fundamental nature of visual art in our species . .(in Brothwell, 1976:40). Nicholas Humphrey's experiments show that apes prefer blues and greens over yellows and reds, leading to speculations that they favor the safety of green trees as opposed to the perils of exposure against red or yellow earth. Whiten "explains" their liking for bright light by assuming that it helps them perceive potential danger and surmises that their predilection for regular pattern might have something to do with an aptitude for handling intricate spatial relationships required to move safely through forests (ibid.:32ff.). Apes do seem to enjoy what they are doing, but forms of life that are not our direct phylogenetic ancestors, like the bowerbirds, also exhibit significant traces of a visual esthetic sense (von Frisch, 1974:244ff.; Waddington in Brothwell, 1976:8; Griffin, 1976:76ff.); thus male black woodpeckers chisel out nests that no less a scientist than von Frisch has depicted as architectural "works of art" (1974:189). Other birds build elaborate nests that they continue to improve upon with practice, in the sense of imparting a heavier semiotic charge: their constructions become, at least in our eyes, tidier and more elegant, but not recognizably more useful by strictly biological criteria.
Because I now consider it increasingly doubtful that any sign system that is not manifestly language-related belongs with man's repertoire of anthroposemiotic devices, I provisionally conclude, as an heuristic tactic, that all other systems used by man are to be construed as zoosemiotic until demonstrated to be otherwise. This view represents a radical shift in my position over the last ten years, one that still preserves the established dichotomy but enlarges the biological base as against the cultural superstructure, encouraging the search for true antecedents (homologies), not just the sharing of traits. It also counsels caution about a saltatory "discontinuity theory" in the terms argued for by Eric H. Lenneberg (in Sebeok, 1968: chap. 21) and supported to a degree by some notable ethologists (e.g., Klopfer in Hahn and Simmel, 1976:7-21). The strategic anthroposemiotics/zoosemiotics dichotomy will stand just as long as the riddle of the origin of language remains unsolved (Hinde, 1972:75ff., 94ff; Wescott, 1974; Lieberman, 1975, and chap. 1, this book). Recent concerted efforts at experimentation with various Great Apes notwithstanding (Fouts, forthcoming), no breakthrough is in sight; indeed, Thorpe (in Hinde, 1972:174) fears that the solution is likely to elude us forever. It may well be the case, as Julian Huxley (1966:258) once remarked, and as I would very much like to believe, that language "can properly be regarded as ritualized (adaptively formalized) behaviour," but, unfortunately, he did not go on to spell out just how one could apply the essentially comparative methods of ethology to a phenomenon that stubbornly remains a singularity in our known universe. In brief, what zoosemiotics has hitherto failed to provide is a comparative perspective for language (Hinde in Benthall and Polhemus, 1975:107-40), particularly with appropriately correlated operational procedures. The importance of a comparative semiotics (called for in Sebeok, 1976a: chap. 3, 1977a) cannot be overestimated, so it is encouraging to know that at least a few animal behaviorists of the first rank are not only commencing to share this long-felt conviction but have actually concluded that "the road now seems open" to realize its goals (Griffin, 1976:95-106).
The relation between the mutually opposite categories in man is hierarchical, and can therefore productively be viewed in terms of a notion standard in linguistics, markedness. Anthroposemiotic systems are always marked, in contradistinction to the zoosemiotic systems that comprehend them. This means that a specific anthroposemiotic sign implies the presence of a certain property X, whereas a generic zoosemiotic sign implies nothing about the presence of X (it may, but need not, indicate the absence of X). The marked sign is always the negative of the unmarked sign: "statement of X" vs. "no statement of X" Some major controversial issues of long standing can be clarified in this light, such as the much-debated question whether a particular facial expression signifies the same emotion for all peoples or whether its meaning depends on the culture of the expressor and the "expressee." Ekman's carefully wrought theory postulates "culture differences in facial expressions as well as universals" (1972:279). The pancultural expressions are plainly zoosemiotic—they reflect biological bias in human behavior; hence, in the technical sense of the term, they are unmarked. The consequences of social learning, which varies both from culture to culture and according to smaller groupings within a culture, include the acquisition of markedness for every possible transition state in terms of the gain or loss of whatever the feature under consideration.
"The relationships between verbal and nonverbal communication are rather tenuous," Hinde (1974:146) ruefully conceded in his latest excellent survey of human zoosemiotic techniques. Oddly, however, he has overlooked a pivotal article by Gregory Bateson (in Sebeok, 1968: chap. 22), which cogently and forcefully set forth the reasons why this must be so. There is a popular belief, Bateson said, "that in the evolution of man, language replaced the cruder systems of the other animals," but he believed this to be totally wrong, because, if "verbal language were in any sense an evolutionary replacement of communication by means of kinesics and paralanguage, we would expect the old ... systems to have undergone conspicuous decay." Such is manifestly not the case: rather, "the kinesics of men have become richer and more complex, and paralanguage has blossomed side by side with the evolution of verbal language ... [both of which] have been elaborated into complex forms of art, music, ballet, poetry, and the like, and, even in everyday life, the intricacies of human kinesic communication, facial expression and vocal intonation far exceed anything that any other animal is known to produce." In brief, the two kinds of sign systems, though they are often in performance subtly interwoven, serve ends largely different from one another; indeed, zoosemiotic devices perform functions that anthroposemiotic devices are unsuited for, and vice versa. An exquisite illustration of the "reconciliation of the human necessity of speaking with the spiritual need for silence . . . within a single behavioral frame in which both components, otherwise contradictory, were indispensable" (Bauman, 1974:159-60) is related from the life of Quakers, whose style of preaching, mixing a "bundle of words and heap of Non-sense," evoked astonished comment even in 1653 (ibid.: 150).
Another coined term (Sebeok, 1974:213, 1976a:3), albeit proposed no more than half seriously, was endosemiotics, "which studies cybernetic systems within the body. . . ." Clearly, man's semiotic systems are characterized by a definite bipolarity between the molecular code at the lower end of the scale and the verbal code at the upper. Amid these two uniquely powerful mechanisms (Marcus, 1974; Sebeok, 1972:62, 1977a) there exists a whole array of others, ranging from those located in the interior of organisms (von Uexküll's Innenwelt) to those linking them to the external "physical world" (his Umwelt), which of course includes biologically and/ or sociologically "interesting" other organisms, like preys and predators. Semiotic networks are thus established between individuals belonging to the same as well as to different species. Jacob, who has most succinctly stated that the "genetic code is like a language," goes further: if they are to specialize, he points out, "cells must. . . communicate with each other," and, at the macroscopic level, "evolution depends on setting up new systems of communication, just as much within the organism as between the organism and its surroundings" (Jacob, 1974:306, 308, 312). After the new integrations have occurred, such that the coordination of elements has progressed from molecular interaction to the exchange of verbal messages, a still more novel hierarchy of intégrons is set up: "From family organization to modern state, from ethnic group to coalition of nations" (ibid.:320), a variety of elevated ("secondary") codes come into play— cultural, moral, social, political, economic, military, religious, ideological, etc. The genetic conception of integron—called "shred out" in general systems theory, in reference to evolution "from slow, inefficient, chemical transmission by diffusion at the cell level up to increasingly rapid and cost-effective symbolic linguistic transmissions over complicated networks at the higher levels of living systems" (Miller, 1976:227)—is equivalent to the semiotic notion of "radius of communication," the progressive widening of which mirrors the history of civilization (Sapir, 1931) as much as it marks stages in the maturation of every individual.
There is no absolute boundary where zoosemiotics abruptly turns into anthroposemiotics. Least of all is this a correlate of "the appearance of a new property: the ability to do without objects and interpose a kind of filter between the organism and its environment: the ability to symbolize," which Jacob (1974:319) ascribes to mammals in general. So does Washburn (1973:181), who refers to "the mammalian brain as a symbolic machine." In fact, the groundwork for the mosaic of changes that enable organisms to utilize symbols was prefigured much earlier, as Tomkins (1975) convincingly delineated, and was sketchily reviewed in the framework of Peirce's doctrine of signs in Sebeok (1977a). On the invertebrate side, insects, such as the balloon flies, have evolved a symbolizing capacity in one of their species, Hilara sartor (ibid.; for symbolic communication in bees, cf. Griffin 1976:19-25). Also, John Z. Young has recently shown that the octopus deals with the world in a manner that can only be described as "symbolic." In a lecture given at the American Museum of Natural History in 1976, he said: "The essence of learning is the attaching of symbolic value to signs from the outside world. Images on the retina are not eatable or dangerous. What the eye of a higher animal provides is a tool by which, aided by a memory, the animal can learn the symbolic significance of events." Cephalopod brains may not be able to elaborate complex programs—i.e., strings of signs, or what Young calls "mnemons"—such as guide our future feelings, thoughts, and actions, but they can symbolize at least simple operations crucial for their survival, such as appropriate increase or decrease in distance between them and environmental stimulus sources ("Withdraw" or "Approach": Schneirla, 1965). The use of symbols on the part of the alloprimates is, of course, a current commonplace, but it has been apparent to unbiased scientists at least since Wolfe's (1936) experiments with a group of young chimpanzees nearly a half century ago (Wolfe was an excessively timid reader of Charles Morris; ibid.: 70). As Katz (1937:237) then noted in a needless display of the double negative, "It appears that chimpanzees are not completely incapable of using non-linguistic symbols." A recent remark of Lévi-Strauss sums the matter up far more cogently: "Les animaux sont privés de langage, au sens que nous l'entendons chez l'homme, mais ils communiquent tout de même au moyen . . . d'un système symbolique" (Maison, 1973:20).
The genetic code and the metabolic code— which intimately couples the endocrine and nervous systems (Tomkins, 1975:763)—are obviously at once endosemiotic and zoosemiotic, but other intracorporeal sign processes, notably the phenomenon of "inner speech" (Egger, 1904; Vygotsky, 1962; Volosinov, 1973), may be at least partially anthroposemiotic. Thus memory experiments have convincingly shown that thinking has two richly interconnected components in man: one verbal, the other nonverbal, each with characteristic properties. The imaginai effects in this dual coding system are zoosemiotic. Neurological studies display in extreme form a functional separation between the verbal and nonverbal spatial systems (Bower, 1970:509). Further, at least two scholars have independently pointed to the evolutionary intermediacy of man's dreaming, focusing their arguments chiefly on one particular kind of semiotic entity, the icon (Bateson, in Sebeok, 1968:623; Thom 1975a:72-73; cf. Sebeok, 1976a). Moreover, tests conducted on patients with commissurectomies (in the so-called Bogen  series) have also yielded rather conspicuous clues that the right half of the brain may be primarily responsible for imaging processes in dreaming. If confirmed by current sleep research experiments, these results will be highly interesting in view of the association of the right hemisphere with the normal imaging mechanisms implicated with the handling of visual-spatial tasks criterial of (nonvocal) nonverbal communication (cf. Ornstein, 1972:64-65, 235nl7; see also section 6, below).
The field of transducer physiology studies the conversion of "outer" signs to their initial "inner" input and considers the relative or absolute contrasts between the pathways of information outside the body and the pathways deep inside it. Although one can but concur with Shands (1976:303ff.) that it is essential to grapple with "the human problem of the greatest moment... of so relating the outer to the inner that the minimal information derivable from inner sources comes to be a reliable index of the external situation," and that this bifurcation must eventually be dealt with in semiotic terms, this science, powerfully foreseen by Leibniz, is as yet barely developed. Its modern theoretical foundations were laid in Bentley's spellbinding paper (1941) on the human skin as philosophy's last line of defense, the argument of which rested on the semiotic of Peirce (ibid.: 18). Beck, looking toward "a truly human sociobiology" (1976:157), reviewed recent work with specific regard to nonverbal communication in man.
It is, in fact, hard to ascertain where "inner" ends and "outer" begins. The human skin itself is a rich arena of momentous semiotic events throughout the life of each individual, not only within our species (Moles, 1964; Kauffman, 1971; Montagu, 1971) but, more fascinatingly and almost wholly out of awareness, also in intricate communicative interaction with the teeming faunal and floral inhabitants of that veritable microscopic dermal ecosystem (Marples, 1965). Beyond the skin toward the outside, as Hediger (e.g., 1968:83) has incontrovertibly been demonstrating since 1941, every individual, according to its species, moves in the interior of an invisible but nonetheless sharply defined insulating space circumscribed by that animal's "individual distance" (the minimum remove within which it may approach another) and its "social distance" (the maximum separation between the members of any group). These concepts are crucial in the management of animals in zoos and circuses, and in their handling in laboratory experiments, under conditions of domestication, or as pets. In a test in which the density of children was modified in a playroom, a similar process was observed in operation (Hutt and Vaizey, 1966). Evidence bearing on the structuring of space and time in animals, or having to do with territoriality, overcrowding, and other sorts of distance regulation, were later extrapolated to man's perception of space and cultural modifications of this basic biological structuration. The branch of anthroposemiotics that studies such behavior is sometimes called proxemics (Hall, 1959; Watson in Sebeok, 1974:311-44). Its subject matter falls between bodily contact (the most intimate involvement of the ego with the alter) and patterns of physical appearance such as facial postures and bodily position, eye movements, and the nonverbal aspects of vocal acts. All of these come into play, in the main, beyond the Hediger "bubble," a variably shaped sphere of personal space that admits no trespass by strangers and is defended when penetrated without permission (Fig. 1).
The distinction between anthroposemiotic and zoosemiotic events is thus not at all demarcated at the integumentary threshold. Both processes have important extensions past the skin, in either direction. These "boundary" communicative phenomena, to which Peirce drew our attention repeatedly (when discussing Secondness) as the shock of reaction between ego and non-ego, may prove particularly interesting for future semiotic and related researches.
Sound emission and sound reception are so much a part of human life that it comes as something of a surprise to realize how uncommon this prominence of the role of sound is in the wider scheme of biological existence. In point of fact, according to Huxley and Koch (1964 :2627), "the great majority of animals are both deaf and dumb." Of the dozen or so phyla, "only two contain creatures that can hear or produce functional sound," namely, the Arthropods and the Chordates. Their respective situations are, how ever, quite different: while practically no members of the lower classes of Chordates are capable of sound production, the "highest three-and-a-half classes of the vertebrates are . . . unique in having all their members capable of sound-production, as well (save for the snakes) as of hearing." The methods of sound production, of course, vary enormously from group to group. Not only does our own method appear to be unusual, but Huxley and Koch (ibid.:32) confirm that it evolved only once in the stream of life. The vocal mechanism that works by means of a current of air passing over the cords and setting them into vibration seems to be confined to ourselves and, with distinctions, to our nearest relatives—the other mammals, the birds (since they possess a syrinx), the reptiles, and the amphibians (although some fish use wind instruments as well, they do so without the reed constituted by our vocal cords). So far as we know, no true vocal performances are found outside the land vertebrates or their marine descendants. Among many, notably ourselves, unarticulated vocalizations are used for status displays or to convey information about age, sex (Guthrie, 1976:33), and a host of specific characteristics about the state of the emitter-in-context (Lötz, 1956:212); usually, they are employed in the manner of icons (Sebeok, 1976c).
Humans communicate via many channels, only one of which is acoustic. Acoustic communication in man may be somatic (e.g., humming) or artifactual (e.g., drumming: Sebeok and UmikerSebeok, 1976). Acoustic somatic communication may be vocal (e.g., shouting for a waiter) or nonvocal (snapping one's fingers to summon him). Finally, acoustic somatic vocal communication may be verbal (speech) or nonverbal (Pike, 1943:32-41, 149-51, remains by far the best survey of such mechanisms), with the latter being either linked to or independent of speech (Argyle, 1975: chap. 18). On the other hand, by no means all verbal systems are manifested in the acoustic medium: Classical Chinese occurs only in written form; the American Sign Language (ASL) is encoded and decoded visually; and the mode in which man communes with himself, his thinking—which, as Peirce taught, "always proceeds in the form of a dialogue . . . between different phases of the ego. . ." (Sebeok, 1976a:28n45), and which constitutes one of man's unique uses of language (Bronowski in Sebeok, 1974:2539-40)—requires audible articulation but facultatively.
These observations, which underline obvious distinctions, are necessary because much conceptual confusion is engendered by the terminological disarray that bedevils the field of human zoosemiotics (Sebeok, 1976a: 156-64). For example, at least two major books (Hall, 1959; Critchley, 1975) bear the title Silent Language. The attentive reader soon discovers that neither work deals with language, except in a misleadingly metaphoric sense, or even, strictly, with silence: thus Critchley declares in his very first paragraph, "Gesture may sometimes be audible though still unvoiced."
The foregoing is summarily depicted in Fig. 2, which substantially develops a single node from a tabular representation introduced in an earlier classification of zoosemiotic devices to illustrate the human production of signs according to the different communicative techniques involved (Sebeok, 1976a:30, Table 4; also in Eco, 1976:175, Table 34), but which also constitutes a considerable amplification of a clarifying figure with similar intent by Argyle (1975:346, Fig. 18.1).
The superficially similar classification by Wescott (1969:152), possibly the most tireless nomenclator in this field, is both incomplete and at least partially mistaken. He distinguishes, in the acoustic channel, among three communicative systems, which he labels, respectively, language, phasis, and strepitus. "Language and phasis are both vocal," he continues inaccurately (cf. Dingwall, 1975:32), the former being articulated, the latter consisting "solely of grunts and other vocalizations insusceptible to combination." Strepitus is then said to differ from both "in being nonvocal," e.g., hand clapping or foot stamping. Incidentally, there have been many efforts to design a system that describes all human movement in terms of the place and type of articulation of the segments of an idealized lay figure, that is, to devise a notation for muscular movement. The model, as construed in a volume of three-dimensional space so that the behavioral sequences can then be delineated as a syntagmatic concatenation of volumes, was envisaged by Bouissac (1973) and, in a measure, actually attempted by Schutz (1976; cf. Kelley, 1971, which, oddly enough, is not cited).
The taxonomic fragment sketched in Fig. 2 could be enriched in various intersecting ways. For instance, one may inquire to what degree the signs emitted by the source are "wanted," i.e., constitute its message for the destination, or have become increasingly "unwanted" (i.e., noisy) in the course of transmission. Or, one may focus on whether the emission and/or the reception of a given string is conscious or out of awareness (a distinction to be pursued further in section 5, below).
The subject matter of linguistics, as we all "know," is communication consisting of verbal messages and the undergirding verbal code enabling them. By contrast, the concept of nonverbal communication is one of the most ill defined in all of semiotics. No wonder the notion is often negatively formulated: as early as 1888, Kleinpaul (1972) paradoxically designated the topic of his classic manual as Sprache ohne Worte, or "wordless language." This concept recurs over and over in recent book titles, particularly since the appearance of the comprehensive, handsome treatise by Ruesch and Kees (1956), in the shape of "nonverbal" or "non-verbal." Sample listings, merely from this decade, include Bosmajian (1971), Davis (1971), Eisenberg and Smith (1971) ,Harrison (1974), Hinde (1972), Knapp (1972), Krames et al. (1974), Mehrabian (1972), Pliner et al. (1975), Poyatos (1976), Scherer (1970), and Weitz (1974). Countless monographs, special journal issues, and brief articles insist on viewing nonverbal communication as "communication minus language"; many of them are listed in Part 8 of the Eschbach-Rader bibliography of semiotics (1976:75-87), which is itself headed "Non-verbal communication" in the restricted sense. Such works tend to deepen the gulf segregating the "nonverbal" from the verbal; to paraphrase an amusing observation of Voegelin and Harris (1947:588), one might infer from some of them "that houses are built in sullen silence."
Two further interconnected problems immediately arise. On the one hand, the contents of these works so labeled encompass an astounding congeries of topics. On the other hand, the partial synonyms that have been devised to cope with this massive confusion have all proved unsatisfactory for one reason or another, as has already been adumbrated in Sebeok ( 1976a: 15862). Such competing though only partially overlapping terms and expressions include bodily communication, body language or body talk, coenetics, gesticulation, gesture, gSigns, kinesics, kinesiology, motor signs, pantomime, proxemics, silent language, tacesics, etc., and, of course, zoosemiotics with extensions thereof. This is not the place to enter the soggy quicksand of usages appropriate to this particular trade, but what about the nature of the traffic itself? What do we know about the commodity purveyed, beyond the presumed barring of what belongs strictly to linguistics?
Mehrabian's definition of what pertains to nonverbal behavior and what its functions are is fairly typical in that it starts out with an equivocation. He distinguishes (1972:chap. 1) between two senses, one narrow "and more accurate," the other broader but, while traditional, allegedly "a misnomer." The former embraces "facial expressions, hand and arm gestures, postures and positions, and various movements of the body or the legs and feet." The latter is equivalent to what has frequently been included under the subcategory of "paralinguistic or vocal phenomena" (also in Argyle, 1975:chap. 18). No mention is made of the obvious: that all animals communicate nonverbally, and that, in point of fact, other books, with identical titles, are devoted to just this, to the exclusion of virtually the entire human domain (e.g., Krames et al., 1974; Pliner et al., 1975; and Hinde, 1972, which is evenly balanced between the behavior of man and that of the creatures devoid of language). As to the concept of "paralanguage" (Crystal in McCormack and Wurm, 1976:13-27; Laver, 1976:347-54)—which ought, more accurately, to be termed "paraphonation," but which the innocent inquirer may reasonably assume to bear some relation to language—it further confounds the already frustrating jigsaw puzzle. Paraphonetic features may easily be homologized with aspects of animal communication, such as the conveyance of information about sex, age, and individual identity, much as song is assumed to do in many birds. However, in preparation for a state-of-the-art paper on the topic, David Crystal wrote a number of colleagues asking them what they understood to fall under this heading; he then reported his findings: "animal vocalization (or some aspect of it), memory restrictions on language, recallability for language, utterance length, literary analysis, environmental restrictions on language use . . . glossolalia, and emotional expression in general language disturbance—in effect, a fair proportion of sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics" (in Sebeok, 1974:269).
It is indeed very difficult, in practice, always to assign unambiguously what segment of a vocal encounter (conversation, state of talk) between people concerns linguists and what segment concerns "nonverbal" interactional analysts: "please remember that the integral role of gesture in speech is quite as important for our understanding of an utterance as the one or two significant movement's or indications which actually replace an uttered word," Malinowski (1965:26) warned more than forty years ago. The borderline becomes more blurred the closer the focus of analysis gets. Some of the awesome entanglements of verbal responses with other kinds of acts were first heroically wrestled with by Malinowski, but he failed to achieve the integration he had preached because he lacked one indispensable analytic tool, an understanding of Kiriwinian verbal structure. Goffman dealt with them concretely in his masterful working paper (1975) on minimal dialogic units. They amply justify the research strategy increasingly being applied to the organization of conversations by workers like Duncan (1975), Poyatos (1976: see Fig. 4, p.66), and others under such labels as speaker synchrony, interactional synchrony, interactional equilibrium, and conveyance of indexical information (Laver, 1976:35458).
In Fig. 3, the two oppositions Vocal/Nonvocal and Verbal/Nonverbal, as they are realized in a few of the aforementioned phenomena, are condensed into a sample distinctive feature chart. This matrix is merely meant to be illustrative: many other oppositions, as well as many other kinds of sign systems, could be adduced at will. (The assigned values are adopted from standard linguistic usage: + means that the feature is present, that it is not, ± that both are co-present, and 0 that the distinction is inapplicable.)
But the conceptual chaos does not end there, because "nonverbal" of course subsumes a considerably vaster radius than the sphere of bodily communication as such. (Incidentally, one may well ask, the so-called organs of speech also being parts of the human body, why are the several manifestations of man's linguistic endowment, notably speech itself, generally not comprehended under this or similar rubrics?) Surely, music (Nattiez, 1975), the culinary arts (Barthes,1967:27-28), a circus act (Bouissac, 1976), gardening (Malinowski, 1965), a floral arrangement (Cortambert, 1833), the application of perfumes (Sebeok, 1972:100-101), the choice and combination of garments (Bogatyrev, 1971; Guthrie, 1976:chap. 18) are only some random means among man's multiform options for communicating nonverbally. Accordingly, it would hardly be an exaggeration to claim that the range of the "nonverbal," thus conceived, becomes coincidental with the entire range of culture exclusive of language yet further encompassing much that belongs to ethology. But this way of looking at "nonverbal" seems to me about as helpful as the Kugelmass theories reported by Woody Allen in the epigraph to this chapter.
People are capable of encoding messages either deliberately or unwittingly, and to decode messages either with the knowledge that they are so engaged or without conscious awareness of what they are about. In a dyadic interaction between organisms, therefore, four possibilities exist in respect to this distinction.
The first possibility is that neither the emitter nor the receiver is able to identify the message, let alone restate it verbally. The pupil response furnishes a nice illustration of this: "While it is evident that men are attracted to women with large pupils their responses are generally at a nonverbal level. It seems that what is appealing about large pupils in a woman is that they imply a strong and sexually toned interest in the man she is with, as well as making her look younger. . . . The enlarged pupils, in effect, act as a 'signal' transmitted to the other person. Several observations made by others have indicated that this is what really can occur in the interpersonal relationship between a man and a woman, and apparently without conscious awareness" (Hess, 1975:95).
This state of affairs can, however, be altered either at the source or at the destination, or, of course, at both the input and the output end. For instance, a woman can deliberately dilate her pupils with one of several pharmaceuticals to enhance her appearance: such, indeed, was the custom in Central Europe in the interwar period (the drug used was a crystalline alkaloid derived from belladonna, which means "beautiful woman"). At the other end of the transmission chain, as Hediger (1976) has noted, the best circus animal trainers "haben schon längst erkannt, dass die Pupillenbewegungen z.B. ihrer Tiger wichtige Schlüsse auf deren Stimmung zulassen. . . ."
Signs that are normally unwitting, like the pupil response in man and animals, are regarded by most specialists (e.g., Peirce, Bühler, Jakobson, and American clinical semioticians generally) as constituting a subcategory of indices that, since Hippocrates, has comprehended symptoms and syndromes (Sebeok, 1976a: 124-28, 181-82). These are of prime concern no less to semiotics than to medicine (Sebeok, 1977a). Instead of dwelling on these wide implications here, let us briefly reconsider the story of Clever Hans (Pfungst, 1965). One is compelled to concur with Katz (1937:5) that at the turn of the century this case was (and is now more than ever: Hediger, 1976) "a problem of first-rate importance, not merely of interest to special sciences, like zoology and psychology, but having some bearing on the deepest philosophical questions. . . Let us add that it is also of interest to the integrated science of communication, semiotics most particularly (cf. Rosenthal, in Pfungst, 1965[191 l]:xxxiii, xxxix nil). This eponymous horse gave its name to one of the classic errors in the history of psychology after it was finally realized "how fatally the unintentional effect on the animal of the observer can influence the results" (Katz, 1937:7), and paradigmatically illustrated "the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Hans' questioners, even skeptical ones, expected Hans to give the correct answers to their queries. Their expectation was reflected in their unwitting signal to Hans that the time had come for him to stop his tapping. The signal cued Hans to stop, and the questioner's expectation became the reason for Hans' being, once again, correct" (Rosenthal, 1966:138).
It must be emphasized that one is concerned here with what Stumpf (in his original  Preface to Pfungst, 1965) described as minimale unabsichtliche Bewegungen, or unintentional minimal movements of the horse's questioner, which occasioned this colossal case of self-deception. Mâday soon refocused the whole phenomenon in its properly explicit frame, designating the proposition as a Zeichenhypothese (1914:12) and enumerating the proofs therefor (ibid: 13-18). He also described the unwillkürliche Zeichen, or unwitting signs, in abundant detail (see esp. ibid.xhap. 6 and pp.247-59), dispelling whatever lingering doubts may have existed. To be sure, Pfungst tells of other clever animals, and there have been records of many since, not just "talking" equines but learned canines, reading pigs, and at least one "goat of knowledge." The most fascinating "talking" horse was Berto, which was blind yet gave excellent results when the attendant "thought that the questions had been written on its skin or uttered aloud" (Katz, 1937:17-18). All of them were assiduously coached performers intentionally cued by their trainers, who were entertainingly exposed by the prominent American illusionist and historian of conjuration, Christopher (1970:chap. 3; see also Mâday, 1914:chap.l5). In sum, the Clever Hans phenomenon lies at the very heart of zoosemiotics; the investigators were misled because they sought in the pupil, the horse—or the great spotted woodpecker (Griffin, 1976:25-26), or the porpoise (Sebeok, 1972:59ff.), or the chimpanzee—for what they should have looked for in the teacher, man: covert and unwitting message transmissions from man to man (Rosenthal, 1966:chap. 9) as well as from man to animal (ibid:chap. 10).
Much of the mystique that enveloped the Delphinidae in the 1960s is traceable to the Clever Hans delusion (Sebeok, 1972:59-60; Wood, 1973:chap. 1; Caldwell and Caldwell, chap. 33, this book). In the late 1970s, a more lively issue, which has hardly been faced up to yet (but see the inconclusive discussion by D. Premack, 1971:820-21; and cf. Brown, 1973:50-51), is the pervasive, insidious penetration of Clever Hans into all the attempts so far designed to erase the seemingly ineradicable linguistic barrier between man and the Great Apes. (Eccles, 1974:106, doubts "if these clever learned responses can be regarded as a language even remotely resembling human language.") The possibly insoluble dilemma that experimenters in this area must confront is that man can scarcely be eliminated from any conceivable variant of the requisite training procedures, because, to put it quite starkly, every such animal is critically dependent for emotional sustenance upon its trainer—whether informed or naive (A.J. Premack, 1976:10Iff.), even when the system used is computer-enhanced (Rumbaugh and Gill, 1976). Deprived of social contact with a human partner, the homeor laboratory-raised ape perishes, but, when given the human contact, the experimenter's expectancy effects must be fully reckoned with (Timaeus, 1973).
Of Clever Hans, James R. Angell noted in 1911: "No more remarkable tale of credulity founded on unconscious deceit was ever told, and were it offered as fiction, it would take high rank as a work of imagination" (Pfungst, 1965). The lesson Hans tapped out as his legacy for science has not, however, been mastered even today. All efforts, without exception, that aimed to shape linguistic apes, whether the research design was quasinaturalistic or followed an essentially Skinnerian paradigm, not only offered "rich opportunities for drawing the wrong conclusions," in Brown's (1973:34) characteristically tactful parlance, but had their focus misplaced to begin with. The really interesting issue has to do with the nature of the communicative coupling between subject and object, hence that is precisely a semiotic problem; it was formulated by Rosenthal (in Pfungst 1965:xxxiii) in the following two sentences (and was expanded by this immensely insightful investigator in many of his other publications, where he drew on social psychological knowledge at large for fruitful hypotheses): "If we knew precisely by what means we unintentionally communicate our expectancies to our animal and human subjects, we could institute more effective controls against the effect of our expectancies. More generally, if we knew more about the modalities by which we subtly and unintentionally influence one another, we would then have learned a great deal that is new about human social behavior." The same point is made in Hediger's (1976:4546) wide-ranging review of Clever Hans and its consequences, with even more explicit reference to zoosemiotics. The relevant question, he correctly emphasizes, is not how to eliminate human signs from the dyad, but how to—at long last— program a thorough investigation of all channels through which such signs actually are and might be transmitted, and thus to determine what really is happening in man-animal and man-man interaction: "Das ist eine Frage der Semiotik," Hediger insists, and, of course, this has become increasingly clear over the last decade; but the nitty-gritty of the search will also demand an exceptionally broad spectrum of cooperating disciplines.
There has been a great deal of agitation lately in the field of brain research about the question of lateralization of at least two modes of mentation in man (Dimond, 1972; Ornstein, 1972:chap. 3). The yeast that fuels this ferment derives from studies termed, as long ago as the 1870s (Sebeok, 1976a:57-58), asemasia, i.e., the impairment of nonverbal communicative functions (Zangwill, 1975:95-106), and, more immediately, from recent split brain experiments (Krashen, 1976:157-91). Some implications of this endeavor—essentially in its infancy—with the aim of moving toward a "true synthesis of biology and culture in the operation of human minds," were recently reviewed by Paredes and Hepburn (1976), giving rise to impassioned debate in ensuing issues of Current Anthropology and elsewhere. In general, however, the emerging picture seems to indicate that the left side of the brain processes verbal tasks better, while the right side deals more skillfully with visual-spatial tasks; this is underscored by a demonstration that the two hemispheres are not ontogenetically equal until the end of the first decade of life (Dennis and Whitaker, 1976). Another, broader way in which scientists, such as A. R. Luria (e.g., in Sebeok, 1974:2561-94; cf. Ornstein, 1972:67), prefer to describe the division of labor is to speak of two opposed but complementary ways of thinking, such that the left brain is more likely to deal with tasks seriatim ("logically"), while the right brain manages problems as a whole, perceiving their simultaneous relationships ("holistically").
This line of research has led to the following provisional conclusion, succinctly stated (though immediately, and properly so, hedged in with all sorts of qualifications) by Bogen (1969): "the left hemisphere is better than the right for language and for what has sometimes been called 'verbal activity' or 'linguistic thought'; in contrast we could say that the right hemisphere excels in 'non-language' or 'non-verbal' function." In the current secondary literature, especially on the part of anthropologists and members of the artificial intelligentsia, one finds that this duality of information handling is labeled more starkly as "verbal to nonverbal" (Tunnell, 1973:27), and such uncompromising assertions as "the appreciation of gestures ... is the province of the right hemisphere" (Weizenbaum, 1976:220). Psychological tests tend to support the view that the right hemisphere appears somewhat more skillful than the left "in nonverbal reasoning and spatial abilities" (Bower, 1970:509), although both hemispheres are indubitably equipped for language representation in some ways and to some extent, the cerebral dominance seemingly involving, in Kinsbourne's dramatistic phrase, "active competition" between the two, such that "the left hemisphere is genetically destined to win" (1975:114).
"Dominance" refers to the processing of information by one hemisphere and its ability to control responding. This variable is likely to be independent of "capacity," or the performance of some task when required by the contextual contingencies of a hemisphere. Now, according to Levy (1973:158), the left hemisphere "simply does not bother to handle information which can be handled by the right," an observation that is in good conformity with the semiotic model espoused here, especially in respect to the hierarchical notion of "markedness" mentioned above (section 1). The pithy formulation of Eccles (1974:92) expresses this best of all by asseverating that the minor hemisphere resembles a very superior animal brain, which is to say that it provides the primary locus for the coding processes we term zoosemiotic but lacks the ability to report mental functions utilizing the verbal (or anthroposemiotic) code, at any rate, vocally (i.e., it is mute). Evolutionary continuities in semiosis from animals to man as well as sudden discontinuities are thus both accounted for, but in grossly different locations in the brain. The corpus callosum serves as the principal channel of intercommunication between the two hemispheres, insuring exact synchrony (unless, of course, the commissures are surgically or otherwise severed). The messages that flow back and forth are presumably all coded neurochemically, but whether the left-to-right commerce is verbal (or digital, as was suggested in 1960; cf. Sebeok, 1972:chap. 1; see also Bogen, 1969), while the right-to-left traffic is nonverbal (or analog), remains one of many intriguing problems winking at the edge of experimental palpability. It also remains to be seen whether the two opposing schools of belief in regard to the ritualization of man's overall semiotic competence alluded to by the English zoologist Pumphrey (Sebeok, 1976a:67, 142) will be content with some such heuristic model; and, still further down the road, whether a proper characterization of the left hemisphere will require a judicious application of catastrophe theory (Thom, 1975b; cf. Sebeok, 1976b, 1977a)—since that is the most sophisticated qualitative method designed so far to handle discontinuous phenomena—whereas the right hemisphere's smooth, continuously changing Gestalt configurations will stay amenable to traditional quantitative analysis.
7. Formation/Dissolution: Diachronic Glimpses
Diachronic considerations of two very different sorts are pertinent to zoosemiotic inquiry: one focuses on the evolution of signs and systems of signs in phylogeny (Hahn and Simmel, 1976; Marler, chap. 4, this book), the other considers their development in ontogeny (Sebeok, 1976a:98-99; Burghardt, chap. 5, this book) as well as impairment, leading to their ultimate dissolution in the life-span of individuals (Zangwill, 1975). The former constitutes the principal axis of synthesis in the entire field of the biological study of behavior (Sebeok, 1972:135, 1976a:85), or ethology, which has been insistently characterized as "hardly more than a special case of diachronic semiotics" (Sebeok, 1976a: 156). This identification should disquiet no one who is cognizant of the common historical roots of the comparative method indispensably utilized in branches of both (Lorenz, 1966:275-76): they stem from Baron Cuvier, the founder of comparative anatomy (which, in his conception, studied the static interrelationships of immutable species, created and re-created several times over), now transformed into modern phylogenetic behavioral systematics, no less than, albeit indirectly through Friedrich von Schlegel's applications, into comparative grammar (cf. Sebeok, 1977a).
Any sensitive and observant caretaker is well aware that a "normal" infant is born with elaborate equipment for interacting with its human surroundings by means of a wide array of vocal and nonvocal signs. Indeed, its success in encoding and decoding vital messages is a most important measure of its very normalcy. Its semiotic growth and differentiation are undoubtedly best conceived of as a series of catastrophes (Thom, 1975b). Thorn's topological model, following ideas originating in biology and pursued by creative thinkers since the likes of D'Arcy Thompson and C. H. Waddington, could account for successive stages of bifurcation where, much as the development of any cell in an embryo diverges from that of its immediate neighbors, sign functions become ever more specialized and cluster to form particular constellations in a dynamic semiotic system occurring and explicable at any given time. Verbal signs suddenly emerge, superimposed upon babbling—which itself usually functions as an insufficiently explored vocal but, of course, preverbal link between the baby and its caretakers (Bullowa, 1970, and, with others, in McCormack and Wurm, 1976:67-95). Language then continues to unfold (Brown, 1973) until the child acquires full mastery over the language of its native speech community along with the culturally appropriate nonverbal systems of signs.
Study of the latter—which also embody the rules of when and how to use the language in accordance with personal needs and social norms—on a scale comparable with the former has barely begun, notwithstanding the pioneering instigation of this sort of research launched by Darwin in a famed segment of the diary he started in 1840 (1877). Surprisingly enough, there exists no definitive treatise of this hardly negligible area comprehending a configuration of attributes in any individual, which Chance calls "primary-group relations," a type of communication that is concerned with associations of an addresser with addressees, a process that Chance further characterizes as the wholly "nonverbal" infrastructure of social cohesion and control (1975:100). There are only a few authoritative survey articles about the state of this art, even the best of which are now getting a bit dated, such as Brannigan and Humphries (1972) or N. G. Blurton Jones (in Hinde, 1972:271-96). These should be supplemented by special studies, e.g., of facial expressions in infants and children (Charlesworth and Kreutzer, 1973), including tongue showing (Smith et al., 1974:222-27), and the like. The paucity of really robust achievements in this domain of nonverbal infant competences—concerning the sights, sounds, smells, and overall body management appropriate to the survival of the baby in all cultures—is the most startling fact about it. One's sense of wonderment remains far from fulfilled, although the tempo of research has become much livelier of late.
If relatively little is known about the formation of sign systems in the course of a human life, the destructive effects of injury or disease remain hardly understood at all. What Steinthal, in 1881, dubbed Asemie, and Jackson, following Hamilton's independent coinage of 1878, then propagated under the accurate label of asemasia, comprehending "the loss of gesticulating power," or of pantomime (Critchley, 1975: chap. 3; Sebeok, 1976a:57-58), are, alas, too frequently experienced by patients and observed by attending physicians. An example of the extent to which pantomimic movement may be unattainable by victims of severe brain damage was recorded by Luria (1972:45) from his celebrated patient Zasetsky, who was wounded in war: "I was lying in bed and needed the nurse. How was I to get her to come over? All of a sudden I remembered you can beckon to someone and so I tried to beckon to the nurse—that is move my left hand lightly back and forth. But she walked right on by and paid no attention to my gesturing. I realized then that I'd completely forgotten how to beckon to someone. It appeared I'd even forgotten how to gesture with my hands so that someone could understand what I meant." At one time, Jackson hazarded a tripartite clinical classification of the aphasias, and the third of his categories was the most global, namely, the loss of language when pantomime and gesture as well as speech are annihilated, a tragic condition so devastating as to be tantamount to social extinction.
The communicational problems that beset the aging and the aged typically fall between the two stools of social gerontology and psychosemiotics; in consequence, they have been largely misinterpreted or altogether neglected. Philip B. Stafford (pers. comm.), for example, has studied closely one dominant sign of senescence in our culture, "repetitiousness," and showed that, contrary to the usual assumption that this tedious habit is simply a symptom of physiological deterioration in old folks, it is rather a semiotic manifestation of an adaptive strategy useful to the elderly in capturing an audience. Nor must one take it for granted that senescence is accompanied by a mere decrease in semiotic potency: on the contrary, a restocked ambry of nonverbal skills is often required and acquired in course of the aging process to cope with the usually, often dramatically, altered social environment. Just how this is accomplished has hardly been studied so far, but I am convinced that the semiotics of old age is one of the most promising research areas for the immediate future and that it will have great import for both applied gerontology and clinical geriatrics.
Since the application of the principle of ritualization to language was not proving feasible (section 1, above), Koehler (1956:85ff.) proposed "to seek for roots, initia, precursors" to language and thought he found eleven, but then wisely concluded that "No animal has got all those initia of our language together, they are distributed among very different species, this one having one capacity, that species another. We alone possess all of them . . ." (ibid.:87). Linguists like Hockett (with Altmann, in Sebeok 1968: chap. 5) and, to a lesser extent, Lyons (in Hinde, 1972: chap. 3) later tried similarly to disassemble the verbal code into a quasi-logical roster of components of varying numbers and to examine each function separately from a comparative standpoint, a mechanistic and desperate procedure that turned out to be a largely empty exercise, partly for the reason foreseen by Koehler, partly for others such as are given by Hewes (in Wescott, 1969:4ff.). Unless and until one or more semiotic systems utilizing coding methods comparable with that of language are discovered, this sort of quest seems futile to me. Moreover, it appears increasingly unlikely that a terrestrial language-like animal communication system will ever be located under natural conditions. The sole alternative lies, then, in the continued scanning—a long, arduous, and costly endeavor, the outcome of which is uncertain— for communicating intelligences on other planets (Arbib, 1974).
Zoosemiotic systems in man, on the other hand, are eminently amenable to comparative study (Pitcairn and Eibl-Eibesfeldt, in Hahn and Simmel, 1976: chap. 5) and will, no doubt, continue to produce worthwhile findings. An example that shows just how fascinating this line of inquiry can be is Ferguson's (1976:138) suggestive research proposal that certain verbal routines, such as greetings and thanks, are "related phyletically to the bowings and touchings and well-described display phenomena of other species." The most fertile ground for the application of the methods of ritualization is surely in the domain of interpersonal rituals for which politeness formulas furnish one attractive target.
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