The Prehistory of Language
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Prehistory of Language by Rudolf P. Botha
Book Description'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 the lexicon; 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 of the 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 squarely at 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 a multi-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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199545889
(233mm x 154mm x 19mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 31-Mar-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Rudolf P. Botha
Language Evolution, Hardback (March 2016)
Addresses the question: how can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it?
Evolutionary Emergence of Language, Paperback (July 2013)
Leading primatologists, cognitive scientists, anthropologists, and linguists consider how language evolution can be understood by means of inference from the study of linked or analogous phenomena in language, animal behaviour, genetics, neurology, culture, and biology.
Cradle of Language, Paperback (May 2009)
This book is the first to focus on the African origins of human language. It explores the origins of language and culture 250,000-150,000 years ago when modern humans evolved in Africa. Internationally renowned scholars address the fossil, genetic, and archaeological evidence and critically examine the ways it has been interpreted.
Prehistory of Language, Hardback (April 2009)» View all books by Rudolf P. Botha
Prominent linguists, cognitive scientists, archaeologists, primatologists, anthropologists, and natural scientists examine issues and advances in understanding language evolution, ranging from the co-evolution of language and music to the evolutionary biology of language. An important and stylish contribution to a fascinating area of research.
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Author Biography - Rudolf P. Botha
Chris Knight is Professor of Anthropology at the University of East London. His publicatons include Blood Relations: Menstruation and the Origins of Culture (Yale UP 1995).
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