In his groundbreaking new book Daniel Everett seeks answers to questions that have perplexed thinkers from Plato to Chomsky: when and how did language begin? what is it? and what is it for? Daniel Everett confounds the conventional wisdom that language originated with Homo sapiens 150,000 years ago and that we have a 'language instinct'. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of fields, including linguistics, archaeology, biology, anthropology and neuroscience, he shows that our ancient ancestors, Homo erectus, had the biological and mental equipment for speech one and half million years ago, and that their cultural and technological achievements (including building ocean-going boats) make it overwhelmingly likely they spoke some kind of language. How Language Began sheds new light on language and culture and what it means to be human and, as always, Daniel Everett spices his account with incident and anecdote. His book is convincing, arresting and entertaining.
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.
This book includes a basic overview of areas of cognition and language processing relevant to the field of communication disorders and provides examples of theoretical approaches to problems and issues in communication disorders.
This book examines the evidence relative to the idea that there is an age factor in first and second language acquisition, evidence that has sources ranging from studies of feral children to evaluations of language programmes in primary schools. It goes on to explore the various explanations that have been advanced to account for such evidence. Finally, it looks at the educational ramifications of the age question, with particular regard to formal second language teaching in the early school years and in ‘third age’ contexts.
Vocalisation, gestures, imitation and deixis in humans and non-humans
Author: Anne Vilain
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing
After a long period where it has been conceived as iconoclastic and almost forbidden, the question of language origins is now at the centre of a rich debate, confronting acute proposals and original theories. Most importantly, the debate is nourished by a large set of experimental data from disciplines surrounding language. The editors of the present book have gathered researchers from various fields, with the common objective of taking as seriously as possible the search for continuities from non-human primate vocal and gestural communication systems to human speech and language, in a multidisciplinary perspective combining ethology, neuroscience, developmental psychology and linguistics, as well as computer science and robotics. New data and theoretical elaborations on the emergence of referential communication and language are debated here by some of the most creative scientists in the world.
"This book provides an overview of current research on the age factor in foreign language learning, addressing issues, which are critical for language planning. It presents new research on foreign language learning within bilingual communities in formal instruction settings focussing on syntax, phonology, writing, oral skills and learning strategies. "
The evolution of human language has been discussed for centuries from different perspectives. Linguistic theory has proposed grammar as a core part of human language that has to be considered in this context. Recent advances in neurosciences have allowed us to take a new neurobiological look on the similarities and dissimilarities of cognitive capacities and their neural basis across both closely and distantly related species. A couple of decades ago the comparisons were mainly drawn between human and non-human primates, investigating the cytoarchitecture of particular brain areas and their structural connectivity. Moreover, comparative studies were conducted with respect to their ability to process grammars of different complexity. So far the available data suggest that non-human primates are able to learn simple probabilistic grammars, but not hierarchically structured complex grammars. The human brain, which easily learns both grammars, differs from the non-human brain (among others) in how two language-relevant brain regions (Broca’s area and superior temporal cortex) are connected structurally. Whether the more dominant dorsal pathway in humans compared to non-human primates is causally related to this behavioral difference is an issue of current debate. Ontogenetic findings suggest at least a correlation between the maturation of the dorsal pathway and the behavior to process syntactically complex structures, although a causal prove is still not available. Thus the neural basis of complex grammar processing in humans remains to be defined. More recently it has been reported that songbirds are also able to distinguish between sound sequences reflecting complex grammar. Interestingly, songbirds learn to sing by imitating adult song in a process not unlike language development in children. Moreover, the neural circuits supporting this behavior in songbirds bear anatomical and functional similarities to those in humans. In adult humans the fiber tract connecting the auditory cortex and motor cortex dorsally is known to be involved in the repetition of spoken language. This pathway is present already at birth and is taken to play a major role during language acquisition. In songbirds, detailed information exist concerning the interaction of auditory, motor and cortical-basal ganglia processing during song learning, and present a rich substrate for comparative studies. The scope of the Research Topic is to bring together contributions of researchers from different fields, who investigate grammar processing in humans, non-human primates and songbirds with the aim to find answers to the question of what constitutes the neurobiological basis of grammar learning. Open questions are: Which brain networks are relevant for grammar learning? Is there more than one dorsal pathway (one from temporal cortex to motor cortex and one to Broca’s area) and if so what are their functions? Has the ability to process sequences of a given hierarchical complexity evolved in different phylogenetic lines (birds, primates, other vocal production learners such as bats)? Is the presence of a sensory-to-motor circuit in humans a precondition for development of a dorsal pathway between the temporal cortex and Broca’s area? What role do subcortical structures (Basal Ganglia) play in vocal and grammar learning?
The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics provides a survey of the field covering the methods which underpin current work; models of language change; and the importance of historical linguistics for other subfields of linguistics and other disciplines. Divided into five sections, the volume encompass a wide range of approaches and addresses issues in the following areas: historical perspectives methods and models language change interfaces regional summaries Each of the thirty-two chapters is written by a specialist in the field and provides: a introduction to the subject; an analysis of the relationship between the diachronic and synchronic study of the topic; an overview of the main current and critical trends; and examples from primary data. The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics is essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students working in this area. Chapter 28 of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access at www.tandfebooks.com. It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license.