The Prehistory of Language

Paperback | September 5, 2009

EditorRudolf Botha, Chris Knight

not yet rated|write a review
'When, why, and how did language evolve?' 'Why do only humans have language?' This book looks at these and other questions about the origins and evolution of language. It does so via a rich diversity of perspectives, including social, cultural, archaeological, palaeoanthropological,musicological, anatomical, neurobiological, primatological, and linguistic. Among the subjects it considers are: how far sociality is a prerequisite for language; the evolutionary links between language and music; the relation between natural selection and niche construction; the origins of thelexicon; the role of social play in language development; the use of signs by great apes; the evolution of syntax; the evolutionary biology of language; the insights offered by Chomsky's biolinguistic approach to mind and language; the emergence of recursive language; the selectional advantages ofthe human vocal tract; and why women speak better than men. The authors, drawn from all over the world, are prominent linguists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, archaeologists, primatologists, social anthropologists, and specialists in artificial intelligence. As well as explaining what is understood about the evolution of language, they look squarelyat the formidable obstacles to knowing more - the absence of direct evidence, for example; the problems of using indirect evidence; the lack of a common conception of language; confusion about the operation of natural selection and other processes of change; the scope for misunderstanding in amulti-disciplinary field, and many more. Despite these difficulties, the authors in their stylish and readable contributions to this book are able to show just how much has been achieved in this most fruitful and fascinating area of research in the social, natural, and cognitive sciences.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$70.50

Ships within 1-3 weeks
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

'When, why, and how did language evolve?' 'Why do only humans have language?' This book looks at these and other questions about the origins and evolution of language. It does so via a rich diversity of perspectives, including social, cultural, archaeological, palaeoanthropological,musicological, anatomical, neurobiological, primatolog...

Rudolf Botha is Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Stellenbosch, and a Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. His books include Form and Meaning in Word Formation: A Study of Afrikaans Reduplication (CUP 1988) and Unravelling the Evolution of Language (Elsevier 2003). Chris Knight is Professor of An...

other books by Rudolf Botha

Language Evolution: The Windows Approach
Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

Kobo ebook|Mar 2 2016

$32.39 online$41.99list price(save 22%)
Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:September 5, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019954588X

ISBN - 13:9780199545889

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Prehistory of Language

Reviews

Extra Content

Table of Contents

1. Rudolf Botha: Introduction: Rewards and Challenges of Multi-perspectival Work on the Evolution of Language and Speech2. Robin Dunbar: Why Only Humans Have Language3. Luc Steels: Is Sociality a Crucial Prerequisite for the Emergence of Language?4. Steven Mithen: Holistic Communication and the Co-evolution of Language and Music: Resurrecting an Old Idea5. Ian Cross and Ghofur Eliot Woodruff: Music as a Communicative Medium6. John Odling-Smee and Kevin N. Laland: Cultural Niche construction: Evolution's Cradle of Language7. Sonia Ragir and Sue Savage-Rumbaugh: Playing With Meaning: Normative Function and Structure in Play8. David A. Leavens, Timothy P. Racine, and William D. Hopkins: The Ontogeny and Phylogeny of Non-verbal Deixis9. Simone Pika and John C. Mitani: The Directed Scratch: Evidence for a Referential Gesture in Chimpanzees?10. Maggie Tallerman: The Origins of the Lexicon: How a Word-store Evolved11. Eric Reuland: Language-symbolization and Beyond12. Elly van Gelderen: Grammaticalization From a Biolinguistic Perspective13. Frederick L. Coolidge and Thomas Wynn: Recursion, Phonological Storage Capacity, and the Evolution of Modern Speech14. Bart de Boer: Why Women Speak Better Than Men and its Significance for Evolution15. Wendy K. WIlkins: Mosaic Neurobiology and Anatomical PlausibilityReferencesIndex