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The Prehistory of Language

Rudolf Botha and Chris Knight (eds)

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
May 2010
ISBN:
9780199545872
eISBN:
9780191720369
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545872.001.0001
Subject:
Linguistics, Sociolinguistics / Anthropological Linguistics, Psycholinguistics / Neurolinguistics / Cognitive Linguistics

‘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 diversity of ... More


Clicks, Genes, and Languages

Norman A. Johnson

in Darwinian Detectives: Revealing the Natural History of Genes and Genomes

Published in print:
2007
Published Online:
September 2007
ISBN:
9780195306750
eISBN:
9780199790203
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306750.003.0010
Subject:
Biology, Evolutionary Biology / Genetics

Languages, like populations, evolve over time. However, languages, like other cultural units, are not inherited in the same way as genes are. Do these differences in inheritance lead to differences ... More


Sign Language Humor, Human Singularities, and the Origins of Language

Donna Jo Napoli and Rachel Sutton-Spence

in Deaf around the World: The Impact of Language

Published in print:
2010
Published Online:
January 2011
ISBN:
9780199732548
eISBN:
9780199866359
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0013
Subject:
Linguistics, Applied Linguistics and Pedagogy

This chapter offers evidence consistent with the proposal that sign languages preceded spoken languages in the evolution of language. Using conceptual integration theory, the authors argue that what ... More


In Defense of the Saussurean View of Grammar

Frederick J. Newmeyer

in Possible and Probable Languages: A Generative Perspective on Linguistic Typology

Published in print:
2005
Published Online:
September 2007
ISBN:
9780199274338
eISBN:
9780191706479
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199274338.003.0004
Subject:
Linguistics, Language Families

This chapter argues in favor of the classical Saussurean position with respect to the relationship between knowledge of language and use of language, providing evidence in support of the idea that ... More


Why We Alone Have Language

Kevin N. Laland

in Darwin's Unfinished Symphony

Published in print:
2018
Published Online:
May 2019
ISBN:
9780691182810
eISBN:
9780691184470
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:
10.23943/princeton/9780691182810.003.0008
Subject:
Biology, Evolutionary Biology / Genetics

This chapter explores how and why language evolved by asking what caused our ancestors to take the first steps away from the communication systems that other animals, particularly other primates, ... More


Why only humans have language

Robin Dunbar

in The Prehistory of Language

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
May 2010
ISBN:
9780199545872
eISBN:
9780191720369
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545872.003.0002
Subject:
Linguistics, Sociolinguistics / Anthropological Linguistics, Psycholinguistics / Neurolinguistics / Cognitive Linguistics

This chapter has three main objectives. First, it briefly summarizes the reasons why language might have evolved, and what we are to make of these. It then considers what this has to tell us about ... More


Language Evolution: The Hardest Problem in Science?

Morten H. Christiansen and Simon Kirby

in Language Evolution

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199244843
eISBN:
9780191715167
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244843.003.0001
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics

This book brings together, for the first time, all the major perspectives on language evolution, as represented by the various fields that have a stake in language evolution research: ... More


Universals and the Diachronic Life Cycle of Languages

James R. Hurford

in Language Universals

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
May 2009
ISBN:
9780195305432
eISBN:
9780199866953
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305432.003.0003
Subject:
Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Cognitive Models and Architectures

This chapter takes the goal of linguistics to be an explanation of how whole languages get to be the way they are. It shows that some insight can be gained into the forces shaping languages by ... More


Evidence for Language Emergence

Namhee Lee, Lisa Mikesell, Anna Dina L. Joaquin, Andrea W. Mates, and John H. Schumann

in The Interactional Instinct: The Evolution and Acquisition of Language

Published in print:
2009
Published Online:
September 2009
ISBN:
9780195384246
eISBN:
9780199869916
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384246.003.0003
Subject:
Linguistics, Sociolinguistics / Anthropological Linguistics

This chapter offers evidence for language as a complex adaptive system (CAS). This empirical support is drawn from computer simulations of language evolution, the development of pidgin and creole ... More


Language, Learning and Evolution

Natalia L. Komarova and Martin A. Nowak

in Language Evolution

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199244843
eISBN:
9780191715167
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244843.003.0017
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics

This chapter studies language evolution from the viewpoint of mathematical game theory. A previous investigation suggested, based on evidence from formal language theory, that innate constraints on ... More


Language Evolution

Morten H. Christiansen and Simon Kirby (eds)

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199244843
eISBN:
9780191715167
Item type:
book
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244843.001.0001
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics

This book addresses fundamental questions about how humans acquired language and how language evolved with new and compelling arguments. The book spans an extensive range of different scientific ... More


The pragmatist approach to language acquisition

James Russell

in What is Language Development?: Rationalist, empiricist, and pragmatist approaches to the acquisition of syntax

Published in print:
2004
Published Online:
April 2010
ISBN:
9780198530862
eISBN:
9780191728136
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198530862.003.0004
Subject:
Psychology, Developmental Psychology

Having set the scene for pragmatist approaches and explained how these are ‘functionalist’, this section describes two functionalist grammars: the ‘cognitive grammar’ of Ronald Langacker (heavily ... More


Temporal Dynamics in Language Comprehension

Michael Spivey

in The Continuity of Mind

Published in print:
2006
Published Online:
September 2007
ISBN:
9780195170788
eISBN:
9780199786831
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195170788.003.0007
Subject:
Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience

While acknowledging the importance of language dynamics at the time scales of biological evolution, cultural language change, and child development, this chapter focuses primarily on the time scale ... More


Conceptual Understanding in Light of Evolution

Joseph Rouse

in Articulating the World: Conceptual Understanding and the Scientific Image

Published in print:
2015
Published Online:
May 2016
ISBN:
9780226293677
eISBN:
9780226293707
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226293707.003.0003
Subject:
Philosophy, Philosophy of Science

Naturalistic accounts of language and conceptual capacities more generally have heretofore been guided by the neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis. Niche construction and other aspects of an ... More


Is the Neural Basis of Vocalisation Different in Non-Human Primates and Homo Sapiens?

Detlev Ploog

in The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens

Published in print:
2004
Published Online:
January 2012
ISBN:
9780197263112
eISBN:
9780191734885
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:
10.5871/bacad/9780197263112.003.0007
Subject:
Archaeology, Prehistoric Archaeology

From an evolutionary perspective, the voice was a prerequisite for the emergence of speech. Speech, the most advanced mode of vocal communication, became possible only after gradual transformations ... More


The Language Mosaic and its Evolution

James R. Hurford

in Language Evolution

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199244843
eISBN:
9780191715167
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244843.003.0003
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics

This chapter suggests that humans have evolved a unique mental capacity for acquiring language, but rejects the notion that cultural transmission (learning) plays a role in language evolution. The ... More


What Can the Field of Linguistics Tell Us About the Origins of Language?

Frederick J. Newmeyer

in Language Evolution

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199244843
eISBN:
9780191715167
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244843.003.0004
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics

This chapter argues that researchers in linguistics have been slow to join the resurgence of interest in the evolution of language. Part of the reason may be that linguists are not in agreement about ... More


Gesture First or Speech First in Language Origins?

Adam Kendon

in Deaf around the World: The Impact of Language

Published in print:
2010
Published Online:
January 2011
ISBN:
9780199732548
eISBN:
9780199866359
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0014
Subject:
Linguistics, Applied Linguistics and Pedagogy

After an overview of the debate about whether spoken or sign language came first, the author challenges its founding assumption, that languages are monomodalic, by reporting on a study of Italians ... More


Introduction

DAN XU

in Typological Change in Chinese Syntax

Published in print:
2006
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199297566
eISBN:
9780191711299
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297566.003.0001
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics, Phonetics / Phonology

This introductory chapter summarizes the aims and arguments of the book. The book shows that, since the Han, the Chinese language has fully exploited syntactic devices to the detriment of ... More


The Evolving Mirror System: A Neural Basis for Language Readiness

Michael A. Arbib

in Language Evolution

Published in print:
2003
Published Online:
January 2010
ISBN:
9780199244843
eISBN:
9780191715167
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:
10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244843.003.0010
Subject:
Linguistics, Historical Linguistics

This chapter outlines a language evolution perspective based on comparison with nonhuman primates, but with a focus on brain anatomy. It argues that biological evolution resulted in a number of ... More


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