A song and a dance

Donald Meltzer has proposed that the genesis of language is essentially two-tiered, having a primitive song-and-dance level (the most primitive form of symbol-formation) for the communication of emotional states of mind … and that upon this foundation of deep grammar there is subsequently superimposed the lexical level of words for denoting objects, actions and qualities of the external world, that is, information. (Meltzer, 1986, p. 181) What we might ordinarily regard as language is only a part of language, and not its most fundamental part. Meltzer distinguishes between a deep musical language, used for communicating about the internal world (that is, states of mind), upon which is built a more superficial, lexical language useful for communicating about the external, material world.4 Michael Paul (1989) has described the rhythm, pace and intonation of patients’ speech, and how th

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