From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language

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Princeton University Press, 2002 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 257 pages
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It is often said that speech is what distinguishes us from other animals. But are we all talk? What if language was bequeathed to us not by word of mouth, but as a hand-me-down?


The notion that language evolved not from animal cries but from manual and facial gestures--that, for most of human history, actions have spoken louder than words--has been around since Condillac. But never before has anyone developed a full-fledged theory of how, why, and with what effects language evolved from a gestural system to the spoken word. Marshaling far-flung evidence from anthropology, animal behavior, neurology, molecular biology, anatomy, linguistics, and evolutionary psychology, Michael Corballis makes the case that language developed, with the emergence of Homo sapiens, from primate gestures to a true signed language, complete with grammar and syntax and at best punctuated with grunts and other vocalizations. While vocal utterance played an increasingly important complementary role, autonomous speech did not appear until about 50,000 years ago--much later than generally believed.


Bringing in significant new evidence to bolster what has been a minority view, Corballis goes beyond earlier supporters of a gestural theory by suggesting why speech eventually (but not completely!) supplanted gesture. He then uses this milestone to account for the artistic explosion and demographic triumph of the particular group of Homo sapiens from whom we are descended. And he asserts that speech, like written language, was a cultural invention and not a biological fait accompli.


Writing with wit and eloquence, Corballis makes nimble reference to literature, mythology, natural history, sports, and contemporary politics as he explains in fascinating detail what we now know about such varied subjects as early hominid evolution, modern signed languages, and the causes of left-handedness. From Hand to Mouth will have scholars and laymen alike talking--and sometimes gesturing--for years to come.


  

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Contents

What Is Language?
1
Do Animals Have Language?
21
In the Beginning Was the Gesture
41
On Our Own Two Feet
66
Becoming Human
82
Signed Language
102
Its All Talk
126
Why Are We Lopsided?
159
From Hand to Mouth
184
Synopsis
213
References
221
Index
247
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1 Michael C. Corballis, From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language .
Michael C. Corballis, From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2002, xii + 257 pages. ...
www-personal.umich.edu/ ~rburling/ Corballis-Review-PDF.pdf

Lingua Franca - 09/06/2001: From Hand to Mouth: Language in Gesture...
On this weeks Lingua Franca From Hand To Mouth Cognitive neuroscientist Michael Corballis on the origins of language in gesture Michael Corballis is a ...
www.abc.net.au/ rn/ arts/ ling/ stories/ s309982.htm

Corballis, mc: From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language.
Description of the book From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language by Corballis, MC, published by Princeton University Press.
press.princeton.edu/ titles/ 7249.html

NZSM online -- Ten years of New Zealand Science Monthly magazine
NZSM Online -- Ten years of New Zealand Science Monthly magazine
nzsm.webcentre.co.nz/ article2101.htm

Oxbow Books - From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language by ...
The premise of this study is that human language evolved from an elaborate sign system, developed from primate gestures, punctuated by grunts, ...
www.oxbowbooks.com/ bookinfo.cfm/ ID/ 33724

extent, semantic properties of Early AAE. This book offers a ...
From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language. Michael C. Corballis. Princeton: Princeton. University Press, 2002. 384 pp. NADJA REISSLAND ...
www.anthrosource.net/ doi/ pdf/ 10.1525/ jlin.2006.16.1.146

Michael C. Corballis - 2002 - From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of ...
@book{corballis02fromhand, author={Michael C. Corballis}, title={From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language}, year={2002}, publisher={Princeton University ...
www.isrl.uiuc.edu/ ~amag/ langev/ paper/ corballis02fromHand.html

Barbara J. King - Alternative Pathways for the Evolution of ...
From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language by Michael C. Corballis (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002. 384 pp., $27.95) ...
muse.jhu.edu/ journals/ sign_language_studies/ v004/ 4.1king.html

American Scientist Online - Hand-me-down Speech
From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language. Michael C. Corballis. xiv + 257 pp. Princeton University Press, 2002. $27.95. ...
www.americanscientist.org/ BookReviewTypeDetail/ assetid/ 17665

ingentaconnect Review of "From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of ...
Review of “From Hand to Mouth: The Origins of Language” by Michael C. Corballis. Author: Burling R.1. Source: Evolution of Communication, Volume 4, ...
www.ingentaconnect.com/ content/ jbp/ evco/ 2002/ 00000004/ 00000002/ art00006;jsessionid=lbefeif1hr7.alice?format=print

About the author (2002)

Michael C. Corballis is Professor of Psychology and a member of the Research Center for Cognitive Science at the University of Auckland. He is the author of three books, including The Lopsided Ape, and coeditor of The Descent of Mind. His work has appeared in Science,Nature, Scientific American, and American Scientist.

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