Tran Duc thao’s theory of language origins

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Jacopo D’Alonzo


The purpose of our research is to introduce the reader to Tran Duc Thaoʼs (1917–1993) philosophical reflection on human language and its evolution. We shall attempt to map out the main lines of Thaoʼs theory of language origins set out in his Recherches sur l’origine du langage et de la conscience (1973). The discovery of Marxism-Leninism led Thao to suggest a materialist and historical turn of Husserl’s philosophy of consciousness which was at the very heart of his own first philosophical interests. Thao’s account threw into sharp relief the social nature of both language and cognition, so that language evolution is linked inextricably to social relations. Within this framework, Thao wanted to determine the nature of language and its role in pre-historical societies and its making through social relations.


Tran Duc Thao, Language Origins, Marxism, Husserlian Phenomenology, Structuralism

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D’Alonzo, J. 2021. Tran Duc thao’s theory of language origins. Cahiers Ferdinand de Saussure. 72, (juill. 2021), 125-132.
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