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The Talking Ape : How Language Evolved - Robbins Burling

The Talking Ape

How Language Evolved

Paperback Published: 25th May 2007
ISBN: 9780199214037
Number Of Pages: 286

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In this mind-opening book, Robbins Burling presents the most convincing - and the most readable - account of the origins of language yet published. He sheds new light on how language affects the way we think, behave, and relate to each other, and he gives us a deeper understanding of the nature of language itself.

The author traces language back to its earliest origins among our distant ape-like forbears several million years ago. He offers a new account of the route by which we acquired our defining characteristic and explores the changing nature of language as it developed through the course of our evolution. He considers what the earliest forms of communication are likely to have been, how they worked, and why they were deployed. He examines the qualities of mind and brain needed to support the operations of language and the advantages they offered for survival and reproduction.

He investigates the beginnings and prehistories of vocabulary and grammar; and connects work in fields extending from linguistics, sign languages, and psychology to palaeontology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology. And he does all this in a style that is crystal-clear, constantly enlivened by wit and humour.

About the Author

Robbins Burling , Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Michigan

Robbins Burling is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Michigan and has long been interested in language, and human evolution. His books include Hill Farms and Padi Fields: Life in Mainland Southeast Asia, The Passage of Power, Patterns of Language, and The Strong Women of Modhupur.

Industry Reviews

`Review from previous edition Robbins Burling does a superb job of explaining just what language is and how it might have originated. This is one of those popular science books that just reads itself - although Burling does use a little jargon, he employs it sparingly, and with careful explanation. The text along the way is easy to follow and the arguments are absolutely fascinating... A delightful book for anyone interested in language or the development of the human mind. Popular Science' Popular Science A great book ... one of the most approachable books on the development of human language available. Oxbow

1: In The Beginning
2: Smiles, Winks, and Words
3: Truths and Lies
4: The Mind and Language
5: Signs and Symbols
6: Icons Gained and Icons Lost
7: From A Few Sounds To Many Words
8: Syntax: Wired and Learned
9: Step By Step To Grammar
10: Power, Gossip, and Seduction
11: What Has Language Done To Us?

ISBN: 9780199214037
ISBN-10: 0199214034
Series: Studies in the Evolution of Language
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 286
Published: 25th May 2007
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.3 x 12.7  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.26

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