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The Talking Ape

The Talking Ape Author Robbins Burling
ISBN-10 9780191509186
Release 2007-03-08
Pages 304
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In this mind-opening book, Robbins Burling presents the most convincing - and the most readable - account of the origins of language yet published. He sheds new light on how language affects the way we think, behave, and relate to each other, and he gives us a deeper understanding of the nature of language itself. The author traces language back to its earliest origins among our distant ape-like forbears several million years ago. He offers a new account of the route by which we acquired our defining characteristic and explores the changing nature of language as it developed through the course of our evolution. He considers what the earliest forms of communication are likely to have been, how they worked, and why they were deployed. He examines the qualities of mind and brain needed to support the operations of language and the advantages they offered for survival and reproduction. He investigates the beginnings and prehistories of vocabulary and grammar; and connects work in fields extending from linguistics, sign languages, and psychology to palaeontology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology. And he does all this in a style that is crystal-clear, constantly enlivened by wit and humour.



Grooming Gossip and the Evolution of Language

Grooming  Gossip  and the Evolution of Language Author Robin Dunbar
ISBN-10 0674363361
Release 1998
Pages 230
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What a big brain we have for all the small talk we make. It's an evolutionary riddle that at long last makes sense in this intriguing book about what gossip has done for our talkative species. Psychologist Robin Dunbar looks at gossip as an instrument of social order and cohesion--much like the endless grooming with which our primate cousins tend to their social relationships. Apes and monkeys, humanity's closest kin, differ from other animals in the intensity of these relationships. All their grooming is not so much about hygiene as it is about cementing bonds, making friends, and influencing fellow primates. But for early humans, grooming as a way to social success posed a problem: given their large social groups of 150 or so, our earliest ancestors would have had to spend almost half their time grooming one another--an impossible burden. What Dunbar suggests--and his research, whether in the realm of primatology or in that of gossip, confirms--is that humans developed language to serve the same purpose, but far more efficiently. It seems there is nothing idle about chatter, which holds together a diverse, dynamic group--whether of hunter-gatherers, soldiers, or workmates. Anthropologists have long assumed that language developed in relationships among males during activities such as hunting. Dunbar's original and extremely interesting studies suggest otherwise: that language in fact evolved in response to our need to keep up to date with friends and family. We needed conversation to stay in touch, and we still need it in ways that will not be satisfied by teleconferencing, email, or any other communication technology. As Dunbar shows, the impersonal world of cyberspace will not fulfill our primordial need for face-to-face contact. From the nit-picking of chimpanzees to our chats at coffee break, from neuroscience to paleoanthropology, Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language offers a provocative view of what makes us human, what holds us together, and what sets us apart.



The Evolution of Language

The Evolution of Language Author W. Tecumseh Fitch
ISBN-10 9781139487061
Release 2010-04-01
Pages
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Language, more than anything else, is what makes us human. It appears that no communication system of equivalent power exists elsewhere in the animal kingdom. Any normal human child will learn a language based on rather sparse data in the surrounding world, while even the brightest chimpanzee, exposed to the same environment, will not. Why not? How, and why, did language evolve in our species and not in others? Since Darwin's theory of evolution, questions about the origin of language have generated a rapidly-growing scientific literature, stretched across a number of disciplines, much of it directed at specialist audiences. The diversity of perspectives - from linguistics, anthropology, speech science, genetics, neuroscience and evolutionary biology - can be bewildering. Tecumseh Fitch cuts through this vast literature, bringing together its most important insights to explore one of the biggest unsolved puzzles of human history.



Origin of Group Identity

Origin of Group Identity Author Luis P. Villarreal
ISBN-10 0387779981
Release 2008-12-10
Pages 614
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A sense of belonging is basic to the human experience. But in this, humans are not unique. Essentially all life, from bacteria to humans, have ways by which it determines which members belong and which do not. This is a basic cooperative nature of life I call group membership which is examined in this book. However, cooperation of living things is not easily accounted for by current theory of evolutionary biology and yet even viruses display group membership. That viruses have this feature would likely seem coincidental or irrelevant to most scientist as having any possible relationship to human group identity. Surely such simple molecular-based relationships between viruses are unrelated to the complex cognitive and emotional nature of human group membership. Yet viruses clearly affect bacterial group membership, which are the most diverse and abundant cellular life form on Earth and from which all life has evolved. Viruses are the most ancient, numerous and adaptable biological entities we know. And we have long recognized them for the harm and disease they can cause, and they have been responsible for the greatest numbers of human deaths. However, with the sequencing of entire genomes and more recently with the shotgun sequencings of habitats, we have come to realize viruses are the black hole of biology; a giant force that has until recently been largely unseen and historically ignored by evolutionary biology. Viruses not only can cause acute disease, but also persist as stable unseen agents in their host.



Cognition and Communication in the Evolution of Language

Cognition and Communication in the Evolution of Language Author Anne Reboul
ISBN-10 9780198747314
Release 2017-03-16
Pages 320
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This book proposes a new two-step approach to the evolution of language, whereby syntax first evolved as an auto-organizational process for the human conceptual apparatus (as a Language of Thought), and this Language of Thought was then externalized for communication, due to social selectionpressures. Anne Reboul first argues that despite the routine use of language in communication, current use is not a failsafe guide to adaptive history. She points out that human cognition is as unique in nature as is language as a communication system, suggesting deep links between human thought andlanguage. If language is seen as a communication system, then the specificities of language, its hierarchical syntax, its creativity, and the ability to use it to talk about absent objects, are a mystery. This book shows that approaching language as a system for thought overcomes these problems, andprovides a detailed account of both steps in the evolution of language: its evolution for thought and its externalization for communication.



The Social Origins of Language

The Social Origins of Language Author Daniel Dor
ISBN-10 9780199665327
Release 2014
Pages 435
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This book presents a new perspective on the origins of language, and highlights the key role of social and cultural dynamics in driving language evolution. It considers, among other questions, the role of gesture in communication, mimesis, play, dance, and song in extant hunter-gatherer communities, and the time-frame for language evolution.



Language Evolution

Language Evolution Author Morten H. Christiansen
ISBN-10 0199244847
Release 2003
Pages 395
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A collection of writings by leading scholars in the field of language evolution, giving readable accounts of their theories on the origins of language and reflecting on the most current issues and debates.



The Origins of Meaning

The Origins of Meaning Author James R. Hurford
ISBN-10 9780199207855
Release 2007-08-30
Pages 388
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"In this engagingly written and broadly interdisciplinary book, Jim Hurford integrates findings from ethology and neuroscience with concepts from philosophy and linguistics to make an explicit and convincing case that animals have rich concepts, and thus that meaning predated language. This is a work of broad scope and significance." W. Tecumesh Fitch, Lecturer in Psychology, University of St. Andrews,from the bookjacket.



The Evolution of Human Language

The Evolution of Human Language Author Richard K. Larson
ISBN-10 0521736250
Release 2010-01-07
Pages 280
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The way language as a human faculty has evolved is a question that preoccupies researchers from a wide spread of disciplines. In this book, a team of writers has been brought together to examine the evolution of language from a variety of such standpoints, including language's genetic basis, the anthropological context of its appearance, its formal structure, its relation to systems of cognition and thought, as well as its possible evolutionary antecedents. The book includes Hauser, Chomsky, and Fitch's seminal and provocative essay on the subject, 'The Faculty of Language,' and charts the progress of research in this active and highly controversial field since its publication in 2002. This timely volume will be welcomed by researchers and students in a number of disciplines, including linguistics, evolutionary biology, psychology, and cognitive science.



Harnessed

Harnessed Author Mark Changizi
ISBN-10 9781935618836
Release 2011-08-02
Pages 216
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The scientific consensus is that our ability to understand human speech has evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. After all, there are whole portions of the brain devoted to human speech. We learn to understand speech too quickly and with almost no training and can seamlessly absorb enormous amounts of information simply by hearing it. Surely we evolved this capability over thousands of generations. Or did we? Portions of the human brain are also devoted to reading. Children learn to read at a very young age and can seamlessly absorb information even more quickly through reading than through hearing. We know that we didn’t evolve to read because reading is only a few thousand years old. In "Harnessed," cognitive scientist Mark Changizi demonstrates that human speech has been very specifically “designed” to harness the sounds of nature, sounds we’ve evolved over millions of years to readily understand. Long before humans evolved, mammals have learned to interpret the sounds of nature to understand both threats and opportunities. Our speech—regardless of language—is very clearly based on the sounds of nature. Even more fascinating, Changizi shows that music itself is based on natural sounds. Music—seemingly one of the most human of inventions—is literally built on sounds and patterns of sound that have existed since the beginning of time.



The Origins of Meaning

The Origins of Meaning Author James R. Hurford
ISBN-10 9780191607233
Release 2007-08-30
Pages 406
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In this, the first of two ground-breaking volumes on the nature of language in the light of the way it evolved, James Hurford looks at how the world first came to have a meaning in the minds of animals and how in humans this meaning eventually came to be expressed as language. He reviews a mass of evidence to show how close some animals, especially primates and more especially apes, are to the brink of human language. Apes may not talk to us but they construct rich cognitive representations of the world around them, and here, he shows, are the evolutionary seeds of abstract thought - the means of referring to objects, the memory of events, even elements of the propositional thinking philosophers have hitherto reserved for humans. What then, he asks, is the evolutionary path between the non-speaking minds of apes and our own speaking minds? Why don't apes communicate the richness of their thoughts to each other? Why do humans alone have a unique disposition to reveal their thoughts in complex detail? Professor Hurford searches a wide range of evidence for the answers to these central questions, including degrees of trust, the role of hormones, the ability to read minds, and the willingness to cooperate. Expressing himself congenially in consistently colloquial language the author builds up a vivid picture of how mind, language, and meaning evolved over millions of years. His book is a landmark contribution to the understanding of linguistic and thinking processes, and the fullest account yet published of the evolution of language and communication. "A wonderful read - lucid, informative, and entertaining, while at the same time never talking down to the reader by sacrificing argumentation for the sake of 'simplicity'. Likely to be heralded as the major publication dealing with language evolution to date. Frederick J. Newmeyer, University of Washington



The Social Origins of Language

The Social Origins of Language Author Chris Knight
ISBN-10 9780199665334
Release 2014
Pages 435
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This book offers an exciting new perspective on the origins of language. Language is conceptualized as a collective invention, on the model of writing or the wheel, and the book places social and cultural dynamics at the centre of its evolution: language emerged and further developed in human communities already suffused with meaning and communication, mimesis, ritual, song and dance, alloparenting, new divisions of labour and revolutionary changes in social relations. The book thus challenges assumptions about the causal relations between genes, capacities, social communication and innovation: the biological capacities are taken to evolve incrementally on the basis of cognitive plasticity, in a process that recruits previous adaptations and fine-tunes them to serve novel communicative ends. Topics include the ability brought about by language to tell lies, that must have confronted our ancestors with new problems of public trust; the dynamics of social-cognitive co-evolution; the role of gesture and mimesis in linguistic communication; studies of how monkeys and apes express their feelings or thoughts; play, laughter, dance, song, ritual and other social displays among extant hunter-gatherers; the social nature of language acquisition and innovation; normativity and the emergence of linguistic norms; the interaction of language and emotions; and novel perspectives on the time-frame for language evolution. The contributors are leading international scholars from linguistics, anthropology, palaeontology, primatology, psychology, evolutionary biology, artificial intelligence, archaeology, and cognitive science.



The First Word

The First Word Author Christine Kenneally
ISBN-10 0143113747
Release 2008
Pages 357
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A history of the quest for the origins of human language traces the evolution of speech and examines the methods used by scientists to explore the subject.



The Major Transitions in Evolution

The Major Transitions in Evolution Author John Maynard Smith
ISBN-10 019850294X
Release 1997-10-30
Pages 346
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During evolution there have been several major changes in the way genetic information is organized and transmitted from one generation to the next. These transitions include the origin of life itself, the first eukaryotic cells, reproduction by sexual means, the appearance of multicellular plants and animals, the emergence of cooperation and of animal societies. This is the first book to discuss all these major transitions and their implications for our understanding of evolution.Clearly written and illustrated with many original diagrams, this book will be welcomed by students and researchers in the fields of evolutionary biology, ecology, and genetics.



Origins of Language

Origins of Language Author James Raymond Hurford
ISBN-10 9780198701880
Release 2014-03
Pages 192
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This book offers an accessible overview of what is known about the evolution of the human capacity for language and what sets human language apart from the simple communication systems used by non-human animals. It draws on a wide range of disciplines, including philosophy, neuroscience, genetics, and animal behaviour.



The Symbolic Species The Co evolution of Language and the Brain

The Symbolic Species  The Co evolution of Language and the Brain Author Terrence W. Deacon
ISBN-10 9780393343021
Release 1998-04-17
Pages 528
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"A work of enormous breadth, likely to pleasantly surprise both general readers and experts."—New York Times Book Review This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions. Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.



Adam s Tongue

Adam s Tongue Author Derek Bickerton
ISBN-10 0809022818
Release 2009-03-17
Pages 286
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The renowned linguist author of Bastard Tongues presents a revisionist assessment of evolution that credits language as a key component in what separates humans from animals, in an account that explains how "power scavenging" forced early humans to break from previous communication systems and acquire new brain structures.