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The Evolution of Language

625 Pages · 2010 · 4.11 MB · English

  • The Evolution of Language

    This page intentionally left blank TheEvolutionofLanguage


    Language,morethananythingelse,iswhatmakesushuman.Itappears


    thatnocommunicationsystemofequivalentpowerexistselsewhere


    intheanimalkingdom.Anynormalhumanchildwilllearnalanguage


    basedonrathersparsedatainthesurroundingworld,whileeventhe


    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,stretchedacrossanumberofdisciplines,muchofitdirected


    atspecialistaudiences.Thediversityofperspectives–fromlinguistics,


    anthropology,speechscience,genetics,neuroscience,andevolutionary


    biology–canbebewildering.Coveringdiverseandfascinatingtopics,


    fromKasparHausertoCleverHans,TecumsehFitchprovidesaclear


    andcomprehensibleguidetothisvastliterature,bringingtogetherits


    mostimportantinsightstoexploreoneofthebiggestunsolvedpuzzles


    ofhumanhistory.


    w.tecumsehfitchisProfessorofCognitiveBiologyattheUniversity


    ofVienna.Hestudiestheevolutionofcognitionandcommunication


    in animals and man, focusing on the evolution of speech, music,


    andlanguage.Heisinterestedinallaspectsofvocalcommunication


    in terrestrial vertebrates, particularly vertebrate vocal production in


    relationtotheevolutionofspeechandmusicinourownspecies. The Evolution of Language


    w. tecumseh fitch CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS


    Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore,


    São Paulo, Delhi, Dubai, Tokyo


    Cambridge University Press


    The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK


    Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York


    www.cambridge.org


    Information on this title: www.cambridge.org/9780521859936


    © W. Tecumseh Fitch 2010


    This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the


    provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part


    may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.


    First published in print format 2010


    ISBN-13 978-0-511-67747-2 eBook (NetLibrary)


    ISBN-13 978-0-521-85993-6 Hardback


    ISBN-13 978-0-521-67736-3 Paperback


    Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy


    of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication,


    and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain,


    accurate or appropriate. Dedicatedtomyfather Contents


    Listoffigures [pageix]


    Acknowledgments [xi]


    Introduction [1]


    section 1 the lay of the land


    1 Languagefromabiologicalperspective [13]


    2 Evolution:consensusandcontroversy [35]


    3 Language [73]


    4 Animalcognitionandcommunication [143]


    section 2 meet the ancestors


    5 Meettheancestors [205]


    6 TheLCA:ourlastcommonancestorwith


    chimpanzees [234]


    7 Hominidpaleontologyandarchaeology [250]


    section 3 the evolution of speech


    8 Theevolutionofthehumanvocaltract [297]


    9 Theevolutionofvocalcontrol:theneuralbasisforspoken


    language [338]


    10 Modelsoftheevolutionofspeechandphonology [364]


    section 4 evaluating phylogenetic models of


    language evolution


    11 Historicaloverview:Westerntheoriesoflanguageorigin


    beforeDarwin [389] viii Contents


    12 Lexicalprotolanguage [401]


    13 Signsbeforespeech:gesturalprotolanguage


    theories [433]


    14 Musicalprotolanguage [466]


    15 Conclusionsandprospects [508]


    Glossary [513]


    Appendix:speciesnames [519]


    References [521]


    Authorindex [605]


    Subjectindex [607]


    Speciesindex [611]


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