Talk, Talk, Talk: Decoding the Mysteries of Speech

Talk, Talk, Talk: Decoding the Mysteries of Speech

by Jay Ingram

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chimpanzees may have opposable thumbs, dolphins may have large brains, but humans still have the distinct advantage of speech. According to some scientists, it was the placement of the Cro-Magnon larynx that allowed a greater variety of vowel sounds (and hence language) and gave our forebears a leg up over Neanderthals. Canadian radio personality Ingram ( The Science of Everyday Life ) traces the evolution of speech from its deepest roots, through the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language, to 19th-century Hawaiian pidgen. But even after humans finally had language, they continued to have trouble using it. Talk, in Ingram's entertaining survey, is not only speech but eye contact, gesture and, of course, sexual dynamics. Covering physiology, history, pathology, psychology and tangential subjects like auditory hallucinations, this is a fascinating beginning book, one sure to get readers thinking about their own verbal interactions and eager to find out more. To that end, it would have been helpful to include a less quirky reading list--the very short one here includes Jean Auel's The Clan of the Cave Bear ; Susan Curtiss's scholarly study of the modern wild child Genie; and several titles that Ingram notes are not readily available. (Aug.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
The ways people listen, communicate, and think are of the greatest importance to Canadian science writer Ingram, who has written a fine introduction to the study of languages and the brain. Ingram describes how people interrupt and signal each other in talking and how brain-damaged patients are observed by scientists to understand language acquisition and use. The physical aspects of speech and the nature of early languages are major parts of the story told by Ingram, who relies on the latest studies to explore children's language skills, ape-language research, and the forms of pidgin and Creole. Ingram uses Noam Chomsky on innate language, Colin Renfrew on the diffusion of early Indo-European, and Julian Jaynes on consciousness to discuss this controversial and difficult subject. A good companion volume to Anthony Burgess's A Mouthful of Air (LJ 8/93).-Gene Shaw, NYPL

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Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Anchor Books edition
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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