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LINGUIST List 23.5187

Tue Dec 11 2012

Books: Evolutionary Linguistics: McMahon, McMahon

Editor for this issue: Rebekah McClure <rebekahlinguistlist.org>

Date: 29-Nov-2012
From: Joyce Reid <jreidcambridge.org>
Subject: Evolutionary Linguistics: McMahon, McMahon
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Title: Evolutionary Linguistics
Series Title: Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL: http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item6857811/Evolutionary%20Linguistics/?site_locale=en_US

Author: April McMahon
Author: Robert McMahon

Hardback: ISBN: 9780521814508 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 110.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9780521891394 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 39.99


How did the biological, brain and behavioural structures underlying human
language evolve? When, why and where did our ancestors become linguistic
animals, and what has happened since? This book provides a clear,
comprehensive but lively introduction to these interdisciplinary debates.
Written in an approachable style, it cuts through the complex, sometimes
contradictory and often obscure technical languages used in the different
scientific disciplines involved in the study of linguistic evolution. Assuming
no background knowledge in these disciplines, the book outlines the physical
and neurological structures underlying language systems, and the limits of our
knowledge concerning their evolution. Discussion questions and further reading
lists encourage students to explore the primary literature further, and the
final chapter demonstrates that while many questions still remain unanswered,
there is a growing consensus as to how modern human languages have arisen as
systems by the interplay of evolved structures and cultural transmission.

1. Evolution and history
2. Evidence for evolution
3. The comparative methods
4. Who, where and when?
5. The vocal tract
6. Language and the brain
7. Language and genes
8. Big bang or cumulative creep? Saltation versus gradual, adaptive evolution
9. From protolanguage to language.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Written In: English (eng)

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