Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


Evolutionary Syntax

By Ljiljana Progovac

This book "outlines novel and testable hypotheses, contains extensive examples from many different languages" and is "presented in accessible language, with more technical discussion in footnotes."

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

By Zhiming Bao

This book "proposes a new theory of contact-induced grammatical restructuring" and "offers a new analytical approach to New English from a formal or structural perspective."

Book Information

Sun Image

Title: The Origin of Speech
Written By: Peter F MacNeilage
Series Title: Studies in the Evolution of Language

This book explores the origin and evolution of speech. The human speech
system is in a league of its own in the animal kingdom and its possession
dwarfs most other evolutionary achievements. During every second of speech
we unconsciously use about 225 distinct muscle actions. To investigate the
evolutionary origins of this prodigious ability, Peter MacNeilage draws on
work in linguistics, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, and animal
behaviour. He puts forward a neo-Darwinian account of speech as a process
of descent in which ancestral vocal capabilities became modified in
response to natural selection pressures for more efficient communication.
His proposals include the crucial observation that present-day infants
learning to produce speech reveal constraints that were acting on our
ancestors as they invented new words long ago.

This important and original investigation integrates the latest research on
modern speech capabilities, their acquisition, and their neurobiology,
including the issues surrounding the cerebral hemispheric specialization
for speech. It will interest a wide range of readers in cognitive, neuro-,
and evolutionary science, as well as all those seeking to understand the
nature and evolution of speech and human communication.

Publication Year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
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.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 019923650X
ISBN-13: 9780199236503
Pages: 352
Prices: U.S. $ 50.00