The Evolution of Human Language: Biolinguistic Perspectives

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The way language as a human faculty has evolved is a question that preoccupies researchers from a wide spread of disciplines. In this book, a team of writers has been brought together to examine the evolution of language from a variety of such standpoints, including language's genetic basis, the anthropological context of its appearance, its formal structure, its relation to systems of cognition and thought, as well as its possible evolutionary antecedents. The book includes Hauser, Chomsky, and Fitch's seminal and provocative essay on the subject, "The Faculty of Language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve?" and charts the progress of research in this active and highly controversial field since its publication in 2002. This timely volume will be welcomed by researchers and students in a number of disciplines, including linguistics, evolutionary biology, psychology, and cognitive science.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Richard K. Larson is Professor of Linguistics at Stony Brook University, New York.

Viviane Depr├ęz is Associate Professor of Linguistics at Rutgers University, New Jersey.

Hiroko Yamakido is Assistant Professor of Japanese and Linguistics at Lawrence University, Wisconsin.

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Table of Contents

Figures vii

Contributors viii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 The faculty of language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve? Marcd D. Hauser Noam Chomsky W. Tecumseh Fitch 14

Part I Language architecture 43

2 Some simple evo devo theses: how true might they be for language? Noam Chomsky 45

3 Your theory of language evolution depends on your theory of language Ray Jackendoff 63

4 Three meanings of "recursion": key distinctions for biolinguistics W. Tecumseh Fitch 73

5 On obfuscation, obscurantism, and opacity: evolving conceptions of the faculty of language Marc D. Hauser 91

Part II Language and interface systems 101

6 Prospection as a cognitive precursor to symbolic communication Peter G?rdenfors Mathias Osvath 103

7 Did language evolve before speech? Michael C. Corballis 115

8 A pragmatic perspective on the evolution of language Dan Sperber Gloria Origgi 124

Part III Biological and neurological foundations 133

9 Plasticity and canalization in the evolution of linguistic communication: an evolutionary developmental approach Daniel Dor Eva Jablonka 135

10 What is language, that it may have evolved, and what is evolution, that it may apply to language Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini 148

11 The creative capacity of language, in what manner is it unique, and who had it? Philip Lieberman 163

12 Genetics and the evolution of language: what genetic studies reveal about the evolution of language Karin Stromswold 176

Part IV Anthropological context 191

13 A putative role for language in the origin of human consciousness Ian Tattersall 193

14 On two incompatible theories of language evolution Derek Bickerton 199

15 On the evolution of language: implications of a new and general theory of human origins, properties, and history Paul M. Bingham 211

Notes 225

References 232

Index 263

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