The Seeds of Speech: Language Origin and Evolution

By: Jean Aitchison

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Human language is a weird communication system: it has more in common with birdsong than with the calls of other primates. In this wide-ranging and accessible overview, Jean Aitchison explores the origins of human language and how it has evolved. She likens the search to a vast pre-historic jigsaw puzzle, in which numerous fragments of evidence must be assembled. Such evidence is pieced together from a mixture of linguistic and non-linguistic sources like evolution theory, archaeology, psychology, and anthropology. She explains why language is so strange, outlines recent theories about its origin, and discusses possible paths of evolution. Finally, Jean Aitchison considers what holds all languages together and prevents them from becoming unlearnably different from one another. The Seeds of Speech is a fascinating book that will appeal to everyone who is interested in the origins and evolution of human language, including linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, archaeologists, and the general reader. Contents Preface; Part I. Puzzles: 1. A natural curiosity: how did language begin?; 2. A peculiar habit: what is language for?; 3. The bother at Babel: why do languages differ so much?; 4. Distinct duties: is language an independent skill?; Part II. Origin: 5. The family tree: the evolutionary background; 6. A devious mind: the basic requirements; 7. Broken air: inherited ingredients; 8. Small beginnings: first steps; Part III. Evolution: 9. The secong word: the emergence of rules; 10. The tower of speech: expansion; 11. Time travelling: extra attachments; 12. Rebuilding on the high seas: keeping going; Part IV. Diffusion: 13. The widening circle: moving outwards; 14. The hidden core: the hunt for universals; 15. The real magician: ruling the rules; 16. Unweaving the rainbow: separating the strands; 17. The endless stair: past and future; Symbols used in the text; Notes and suggestions for further reading; References; Index. Printed Pages: 294 with 27 line diagrams, 8 half-tones, 1 table and 5 maps.

Title: The Seeds of Speech: Language Origin and Evolution

Author Name: Jean Aitchison

Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines,

Edition: First Edition

Publisher: Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press: 2000

ISBN: 0521785715

ISBN 13: 9780521785716

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: New

Seller ID: 008653

Keywords: Syntax Linguistics Statistics Languages English Grammar Predication Soviet Union Australia