How can we unravel the evolution of language, given that there is no direct evidence about it? Rudolf Botha addresses this intriguing question in his fascinating new book. Inferences can be drawn about language evolution from a range of other phenomena, serving as windows into this prehistoric process. These include shell-beads, fossil skulls and ancestral brains, modern pidgin and creole languages, homesign systems and emergent sign languages, modern motherese, language use of modern hunter-gatherers, first language acquisition, similarities between language and music, and comparative animal behaviour. The first systematic analysis of the Windows Approach, it will be of interest to students and researchers in many disciplines, including anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, palaeontology and primatology, as well as anyone interested in how language evolved.
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 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. "
Human language is a weird communication system: it has more in common with birdsong than with the calls of other primates. In this clear and non-technical overview, Jean Aitchison explores why it evolved and how it developed. She likens the search to a vast prehistoric jigsaw puzzle, in which numerous fragments of evidence must be assembled, some external to language, such as evolution theory and animal communication; others internal, including child language, pidgins and creoles, and language change. She explains why language is so strange, outlines recent theories about its origin, and discusses possible paths of evolution. Finally, she considers what holds all languages together, and prevents them from becoming unlearnably different from one another.
An invaluable reference tool for students and researchers in theoretical linguistics, The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Second Edition has been updated to incorporate the last 10 years of syntactic research and expanded to include a wider array of important case studies in the syntax of a broad array of languages. A revised and expanded edition of this invaluable reference tool for students and researchers in linguistics, now incorporating the last 10 years of syntactic research Contains over 120 chapters that explain, analyze, and contextualize important empirical studies within syntax over the last 50 years Charts the development and historiography of syntactic theory with coverage of the most important subdomains of syntax Brings together cutting-edge contributions from a global group of linguists under the editorship of two esteemed syntacticians Provides an essential and unparalleled collection of research within the field of syntax, available both online and across 8 print volumes This work is also available as an online resource at www.companiontosyntax.com
Biological research relies heavily on animal models that enable direct physiological analyses. Each animal model is suitable to address different scientific questions. The songbird is a leading model for study of brain-behavior relationships, especially as a model for human speech. The strength of the songbird as a model lies in the rich complexity of singing behavior that is quantifiable and the identified neural circuitry which controls this learned behavior. Here, I study a songbird, zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata ), as a model for vocal learning in order to unveil molecular mechanisms that are potentially shared between songbirds and humans.