The Talking Ape

Autor: Robbins Burling
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191509183
File Size: 18,74 MB
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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

Autor: Robin Dunbar
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674363366
File Size: 76,45 MB
Format: PDF, Docs
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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

Autor: W. Tecumseh Fitch
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 113948706X
File Size: 44,56 MB
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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.

Language Evolution

Autor: Morten H. Christiansen
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191581666
File Size: 34,75 MB
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What is it that makes us human? This is one of the most challenging and important questions we face. Our species' defining characteristic is language - we appear to be unique in the natural world in having such an incredibly open-ended system for putting thoughts into words. If we are to truly understand ourselves as a species we must understand the origins of this strange and unique ability. To do so, we need to answer some of the most intriguing questions in contemporary scientific research: Where did language come from? How did it evolve? Why are we unique in possessing it? This book, for the first time, brings together the leading thinkers who are trying to unlock the puzzle of language evolution. Here we see the latest ideas and theories from fields as diverse as anthropology, archaeology, artificial life, biology, cognitive science, linguistics, neuroscience, and psychology. In a series of seventeen well-written and accessible chapters we get an unrivalled view of the state of the art in this exciting area. Current controversies are revealed and new perspectives uncovered, in a clear and readable guide to the latest theories. This collection marks a major step forward in our quest to understand the origins and evolution of human language. In doing so it sheds new light on the process of evolution, the workings of the brain, the structure of language, and - most importantly - what it means to be human. Language Evolution is essential reading for researchers and students working in the areas covered, and has been used as a textbook for courses in the field. It will also attract the general reader who wants to know more about this fascinating subject.

The Origins Of Meaning

Autor: James R. Hurford
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199207852
File Size: 50,23 MB
Format: PDF
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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.

Origin Of Group Identity

Autor: Luis P. Villarreal
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9780387779980
File Size: 12,57 MB
Format: PDF
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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.

The Social Origins Of Language

Autor: Daniel Dor
Publisher: Oxford University Press (UK)
ISBN: 019966532X
File Size: 16,74 MB
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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.

The First Word

Autor: Christine Kenneally
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101202394
File Size: 57,84 MB
Format: PDF
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An accessible exploration of a burgeoning new field: the incredible evolution of language The first popular book to recount the exciting, very recent developments in tracing the origins of language, The First Word is at the forefront of a controversial, compelling new field. Acclaimed science writer Christine Kenneally explains how a relatively small group of scientists that include Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker assembled the astounding narrative of how the fundamental process of evolution produced a linguistic ape?in other words, us. Infused with the wonder of discovery, this vital and engrossing book offers us all a better understanding of the story of humankind.

Cognition And Communication In The Evolution Of Language

Autor: Anne Reboul
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191064475
File Size: 56,11 MB
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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 selection pressures. 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 and language. 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, and provides a detailed account of both steps in the evolution of language: its evolution for thought and its externalization for communication.

The Evolution Of Human Language

Autor: Richard K. Larson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521736251
File Size: 80,63 MB
Format: PDF
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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.