Von subhumaner zu humanspezifischer Interaktion. Tomasello und die Qualität des Zeigens





pointing gestures, deictis gestures, gesture research, interaction between animals, social practice, ontogenesis, language acquisition, language evolution, primate research, Karl Bühler, Michael Tomasello


Summary. Michael Tomasello, whose research is increasingly recognized in socio-the­oretical discourses, describes deictic gestures as the crucial milestone on the way from animal interaction to specific human forms of interaction. On a mentalistic principle, he does not shy away from comparing the pointing gesture to language and from defining the deictic gesture as ontogenetic and phylogenetic earliest form of specific human coope­rative communication. This article initially shows that the expression-theoretical const­ruction of the research program creates contradictions and circularities. With reference to Karl Bühler’s works, a semiotic analysis of Tomasello’s examples of the special qua­lity of pointing gestures is provided. This approach also casts a new light on Tomasello’s explanation of the transition to verbal language and argues that Tomasello’s theoretical construction hardly yields reliable statements according to social interaction as a process and to the emergence of cognitive capacities and communication means, but that his findings on the actual cognitive capacities of children and nonhu­man primates could additionally be taken into account to unlock the secret of the ori­gins of language.