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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Book Information

   

Title: Origins of Language
Subtitle: Constraints on hypotheses
Written By: Sverker Johansson
URL: http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=CELCR%205
Series Title: Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research 5
Description:

Sverker Johansson has written an unusual book on language origins, with its
emphasis on empirical evidence rather than theory-building. This is a book
for the student or researcher who prefers solid data and well-supported
conclusions over speculative scenarios. Much that has been written on the
origins of language is characterized by hypothesizing largely unconstrained
by evidence. But empirical data do exist, and the purpose of this book is
to integrate and review the available evidence from all relevant
disciplines, not only linguistics but also, e.g., neurology, primatology,
paleoanthropology, and evolutionary biology. The evidence is then used to
constrain the multitude of scenarios for language origins, demonstrating
that many popular hypotheses are untenable. Among the issues covered: (1)
Human evolutionary history, (2) Anatomical prerequisites for language, (3)
Animal communication and ape "language", (4) Mind and language, (5) The
role of gesture, (6) Innateness, (7) Selective advantage of language, (8)
Proto-language.

Table of contents

Preface p.x

1. Introduction p. 1
2. What is language? p.5
3. The theory of evolution p.13
4. Human origins and evolution p.41
5. Anatomical and neurological prerequisites p.77
6. Animal communication in the wild p.119
7. Can nonhumans be taught language? p.129
8. Language, mind, and self p.143
9. Hypotheses of language origins 157
10. Why did language evolve? p.193
11. Protolanguage

12. Conclusions p.243

References p.248

Index p. 331

"Sverker Johansson offers us an impressive review of current theories on
the origins of language, one of the most stimulating scientific debates of
the nascent century. The book is clear, clever, exhaustive, and has the
rare quality of being faithful to all the theories it describes. It is
essential readings for all those who want to be part of the fascinating
adventure of understanding the origins of humanity. This is a reference
book, not only for students, but also for researchers in the field, and I
will be digging frequently into this mine of knowledge."
Jean-Louis Dessalles, ParisTech ENST

"Johansson's review of the existing theories of language evolution is
excellent and provides a good introduction to the field. Even though he
does not formulate a theory of his own, I find the constraints on theories
of language evolution that he formulates very clear-headed and they should
certainly serve as benchmarks for any researcher in the area."
Peter Gärdenfors, Professor of Cognitive Science, Lund University, Sweden

"In total it is a valuable review - currently the most complete in its
breadth and balance of any yet published - and I would consider using it in
an upperdivision course."
Terence Deacon

Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Neurolinguistics
Cognitive Science
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 902723891
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: xii, 346
Prices: Europe EURO 95.00
 
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1588116298
ISBN-13: 9781588116291
Pages: xii, 346
Prices: U.S. $ 128