LINGUIST List 23.5187

Tue Dec 11 2012

Books: Evolutionary Linguistics: McMahon, McMahon

Editor for this issue: Rebekah McClure <>

Date: 29-Nov-2012
From: Joyce Reid <>
Subject: Evolutionary Linguistics: McMahon, McMahon
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Title: Evolutionary LinguisticsSeries Title: Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics

Publication Year: 2012Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: April McMahonAuthor: Robert McMahon

Hardback: ISBN: 9780521814508 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 110.00Paperback: ISBN: 9780521891394 Pages: 326 Price: U.S. $ 39.99


How did the biological, brain and behavioural structures underlying humanlanguage evolve? When, why and where did our ancestors become linguisticanimals, 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, sometimescontradictory and often obscure technical languages used in the differentscientific disciplines involved in the study of linguistic evolution. Assumingno background knowledge in these disciplines, the book outlines the physicaland neurological structures underlying language systems, and the limits of ourknowledge concerning their evolution. Discussion questions and further readinglists encourage students to explore the primary literature further, and thefinal chapter demonstrates that while many questions still remain unanswered,there is a growing consensus as to how modern human languages have arisen assystems by the interplay of evolved structures and cultural transmission.

1. Evolution and history2. Evidence for evolution3. The comparative methods4. Who, where and when?5. The vocal tract6. Language and the brain7. Language and genes8. Big bang or cumulative creep? Saltation versus gradual, adaptive evolution9. From protolanguage to language.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics Psycholinguistics

Written In: English (eng)

See this book announcement on our website:

-------------------------- Major Supporters --------------------------


Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Cambridge University Press

Cascadilla Press

Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)

De Gruyter Mouton

Edinburgh University Press

Elsevier Ltd

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Equinox Publishing Ltd

European Language Resources Association - ELRA

Georgetown University Press

Hodder Education

John Benjamins

Lincom GmbH

MIT Press

Morgan & Claypool Publishers

Multilingual Matters

Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG

Oxford University Press

Palgrave Macmillan

Peter Lang AG


Routledge (Taylor and Francis)


University of Toronto Press


---------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ----------------------

Association of Editors of the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics

International Pragmatics Assoc.

Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke - LOT

SIL International

University of Nebraska Press

Utrecht institute of Linguistics

Page Updated: 11-Dec-2012