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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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New from Oxford University Press!


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.

New from Cambridge University Press!


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: The Evolution of Language out of Pre-language
Edited By: T. Givón
Bertram F. Malle
URL: http://www.benjamins.nl/cgi-bin/t_bookview.cgi?bookid=TSL_53
Series Title: Typological Studies in Language 53

The contributors to this volume are linguists, psychologists, neuroscientists, primatologists, and anthropologists who share the assumption that language, just as mind and brain, are products of biological evolution. The rise of human language is not viewed as a serendipitous mutation that gave birth to a unique linguistic organ, but as a gradual, adaptive extension of pre-existing mental capacities and brain structures. The contributors carefully study brain mechanisms, diachronic change, language acquisition, and the parallels between cognitive and linguistic structures to weave a web of hypotheses and suggestive empirical findings on the origins of language and the connections of language to other human capacities. The chapters discuss brain pathways that support linguistic processing; origins of specific linguistic features in temporal and hierarchical structures of the mind; the possible co-evolution of language and the reasoning about mental states; and the aspects of language learning that may serve as models of evolutionary change.

Table of Contents

The visual information-processing system as an evolutionary precursor of human language
T. Givón 3
Embodied meaning
Don M. Tucker 51
Missing links, issues and hypotheses in the evolutionary origin of language
Charles N. Li 83
Sequentiality as the basis of constituent structure
Joan L. Bybee 107
The internal structure of the syllable
Barbara L. Davis and Peter F. Macneilage 133
On the origins of intersyllabic complexity
Peter F. Macneilage and Barbara L. Davis 153
On the pre-linguistic origins of language processing rates
Marjorie Barker and T. Givón 169
The clausal structure of linguistic and pre-linguistic behavior
Gertraud Fenk-Oczlon and August Fenk 213
The gradual emergence of language
Brian MacWhinney 231
The relation between language and theory of mind in development and evolution
Bertram F. Malle 263
The rise of intentional understanding in human development
Dare A. Baldwin 283
The emergence of grammar in early child language
Michael Tomasello 307
Why does exposure to language matter?
Jill P. Morford 327
Getting a handle on language creation
Susan Goldin-Meadow 341
Language evolution, acquisition, diachrony
Dan I. Slobin 373

Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics
Anthropological Linguistics
Language Acquisition
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: 1588112373
ISBN-13: 9781588112378
Pages: x, 394 pp.
Prices: U.S. $ 182
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9027229597
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: x, 394 pp.
Prices: EUR 90.00
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1588112381
ISBN-13: 9781588112385
Pages: x, 394 pp.
Prices: U.S. $ 65
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9027229600
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: x, 394 pp.
Prices: EUR 44.00