Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Spontaneous Language

  • Garrett W. Mitchener
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3332-1



Spontaneous language is the phenomenon in which all or part of a language is constructed based on innate assumptions combined with input from an environment that underspecifies the language. Input signals may be the product of a language or have a less formal source. The resulting language is consistent with the input, though it may not exactly reflect the process by which the input was generated.


Natural human language is a complex phenomenon, with individual and communal components. It consists of highly structured signals with rich semantics, transmitted through vocalizations, facial expressions, and manual gestures. Normal individuals each have a body of knowledge about their native language called I-language. At the community level, an E-language is the amalgam of the I-languages of all individuals and may not exactly match any individual’s I-language.

I-languages are...


Sign Language Language Acquisition Vocal Tract Deaf Child Language Faculty 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of CharlestonCharlestonUSA