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New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: Evolutionary Linguistics
Written By: April McMahon
Robert McMahon
Series Title: Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics

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.

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
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Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9780521891394
Pages: 326
Prices: U.S. $ 39.99

Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9780521814508
Pages: 326
Prices: U.S. $ 110.00