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Title: Why We Talk
Subtitle: The Evolutionary Origins of Language
Written By: Jean-Louis Dessalles
Translated By: James Grieve
Series Title: Studies in Evolution of Language
Description:

Jean-Louis Dessalles explores the co-evolutionary paths of biology,
culture, and the great human edifice of language, linking the evolution of
the language to the general evolutionary history of humankind. He provides
searchingly original answers to such fundamental paradoxes as to whether we
acquired our greatest gift in order to talk or so as to be able to think,
and as to why human beings should, as experience constantly confirms,
contribute information for the well-being of others at their own expense
and for no apparent gain: which if this is one of language's main functions
appears to make its possession, in Darwinian terms, a disadvantage. Dr.
Dessalles looks for solutions in the early history of human species and
considers the degree to which language evolved as a means of choosing
profitable coalition partners and maximizing individual success within a
competitive social environment.

The author opens with a discussion of the differences between animal and
human communication and the biological foundations of language. He looks at
the physiological preconditions for language evolution and the early
evolution of meaning and communication. He then embarks on an important and
original account of the natural history of conversation. Here he considers
the roles of language in supporting social cohesion and information exchange.

This challenging and original account will appeal to all those interested
in the origins of language and the evolution of human behavior.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
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.
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Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0199563462
ISBN-13: 9780199563463
Pages: 400
Prices: U.S. $ 34.95