Word, niche and super-niche

How language makes minds matter more

Andy Clark*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)


How does language (spoken or written) impact thought? One useful way to approach this important but elusive question may be to consider language itself as a cognition-enhancing animal-built structure. To take this perspective is to view language as a kind of self-constructed cognitive niche. These self-constructed cognitive niches play, 1 suggest, three distinct but deeply interlocking roles in human thought and reason. Working together, these three interlocking routines radically transform the human mind, and mark a genuine discontinuity in the space of animal minds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-268
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition-enhancing structure
  • Cognitive niche
  • Niche construction

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