The Origins of Meaning

Author: James R. Hurford
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191607231
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
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 Origins of Meaning

Author: James R. Hurford
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199207852
Format: PDF
Download Now
"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 Origins of Grammar

Author: James R. Hurford
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199207879
Format: PDF
Download Now
The second in James Hurford's acclaimed two-volume exploration of the biological evolution of language explores the evolutionary and cultural preconditions and consequences of humanity's great leap into language.

The Origin of Speech

Author: Peter F. MacNeilage
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199581584
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
This book explores the origin and evolution of speech. The human speech system is in a league of its own in the animal kingdom and its possession dwarfs most other evolutionary achievements. During every second of speech we unconsciously use about 225 distinct muscle actions. To investigate the evolutionary origins of this prodigious ability, Peter MacNeilage draws on work in linguistics, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and animal behavior. He puts forward a neo-Darwinian account of speech as a process of descent in which ancestral vocal capabilities became modified in response to natural selection pressures for more efficient communication. His proposals include the crucial observation that present-day infants learning to produce speech reveal constraints that were acting on our ancestors as they invented new words long ago. This important and original investigation integrates the latest research on modern speech capabilities, their acquisition, and their neurobiology, including the issues surrounding the cerebral hemispheric specialization for speech. Written in a clear style with minimal recourse to jargon the book will interest a wide range of readers in cognitive, neuro-, and evolutionary science, as well as all those seeking to understand the nature and evolution of speech and human communication.

Why We Talk

Author: Jean-Louis Dessalles
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199276233
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
Constant exchange of information is integral to our societies. The author explores how this came into being. Presenting language evolution as a natural history of conversation, he sheds light on the emergence of communication in the hominine congregations, as well as on the human nature.

Origins of Language

Author: James Raymond Hurford
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198701888
Format: PDF, Kindle
Download Now
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 Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution

Author: Maggie Tallerman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199541116
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Leading scholars present critical accounts of every aspect of the field, including work in animal behaviour; anatomy, genetics and neurology; the prehistory of language; the development of our uniquely linguistic species; and language creation, transmission, and change.

The Evolution of Language

Author: W. Tecumseh Fitch
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 113948706X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
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.

Speaking Our Minds

Author: Thom Scott-Phillips
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
ISBN: 1137312734
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Language is an essential part of what makes us human. Where did it come from? How did it develop into the complex system we know today? And what can an evolutionary perspective tell us about the nature of language and communication? Drawing on a range of disciplines including cognitive science, linguistics, anthropology and evolutionary biology, Speaking Our Minds explains how language evolved and why we are the only species to communicate in this way. Written by a rising star in the field, this groundbreaking book is required reading for anyone interested in understanding the origins and evolution of human communication and language.

The Evolutionary Emergence of Language

Author: Rudolf Botha
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199654840
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
The book presents new and stimulating approaches to the study of language evolution and considers their implications for future research. Leading scholars from linguistics, primatology, anthroplogy, and cognitive science 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. In their introduction the editors show how these approaches can be interrelated and deployed together through their use of comparable forms of inference and the similar conditions they place on the use of evidence. The Evolutionary Emergence of Language will interest everyone concerned with this intriguing and important subject, including those in linguistics, biology, anthropology, archaeology, neurology, and cognitive science.