Synopses & Reviews
The leading scholars in the rapidly growing field of language evolution give readable accounts of their theories on the origins of language and reflect on the most important current issues and debates. As well as providing a guide to their own published research in this area they highlight what they see as the most relevant research of others. The authors come from a wide range of disciplines involved in language evolution including linguistics, cognitive science, computational science, primatology, and archaeology.
"Some time since we and the chimpanzees went our separate evolutionary ways, probably towards the very end of that 6 million year period, an innovation occurred whose only precedent was arguably the DNA code itself. Language arose in our ancestors, and there had been nothing like it. Of course other species communicate, many of them vocally, but none of this comes close to the open-ended, generative capacity, the huge vocabulary, the nuanced subtlety, the permanent recordability of language. As an outsider, it is with real fascination that I have read this compendium. One of the merits of any book is its capacity to stimulate the reader to think beyond its confines. This, and other merits are possessed by Language Evolution in abundance."--Richard Dawkins
"The evolutionary origins of language should intrigue anyone interested in the relationship of humans to other species. For them, Language Evolution will provide a useful starting point."--Science
"This is not a book to be read at a single sitting. Nor, indeed, at several sittings. It is a book to be savoured like a good wine. To carry the analogy further, the reader can enjoy the nose, the bouquet, the first glorious sip, the swirl, the swill, the swallow. And finally the aftertaste. But, unlike the wine, there is no need to buy another bottle - or another copy in this case. The reader can return to it again and again, to ever fresher delights. . . . [A] wealth of didactic talent . . . [it] can be opened at any page whereupon you may be as lost as Keats on first discovering Chapman's Homer."--Nurturing Potential
How humans acquired language and how languages evolved are two of the most intriguing questions in contemporary scientific research. The essays in this volume discuss the subject.