Approaches to the Evolution of Language: Social and Cognitive Bases

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James R. Hurford, Michael Studdert-Kennedy, Chris Knight
Cambridge University Press, Sep 17, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 442 pages
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This is one of the first systematic attempts to bring language within the neo-Darwinian framework of modern evolutionary theory, without abandoning the vast gains in phonology and syntax achieved by formal linguistics over the past forty years. The contributors, linguists, psychologists, and paleoanthropologists, address such questions as: what is language as a category of behavior; is it an instrument of thought or of communication; what do individuals know when they know a language; what cognitive, perceptual, and motor capacities must they have to speak, hear, and understand a language? For the past two centuries, scientists have tended to see language function as largely concerned with the exchange of practical information. By contrast, this volume takes as its starting point the view of human intelligence as social, and of language as a device for forming alliances, in exploring the origins of the sound patterns and formal structures that characterize language.
 

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Contents

Grounding language function in social cognition
9
On discontinuing the continuitydiscontinuity debate
17
The origin of language and cognition
30
Mimesis and the Executive Suite missing links in language evolution
44
Ritualspeech coevolution a solution to the problem of deception
68
Theory of mind and the evolution of language
92
Old wives tales the gossip hypothesis and the reliability of cheap signals
111
Altruism status and the origin of relevance
130
Evolution of the mechanism of language output comparative neurobiology of vocal and manual communication
222
Systemic constraints and adaptive change in the formation of sound structure
242
The development of sound systems in human language
265
Synonymy avoidance phonology and the origin of syntax
279
The emergence of syntax
299
On the supposed counterfunctionality of Universal Grammar some evolutionary implications
305
Language evolution and the Minimalist Program the origins of syntax
320
Catastrophic evolution the case for a single step from protolanguage to full human language
341

The evolution of language from social intelligence
148
The emergence of phonology
169
Longcall structure in apes as a possible precursor for language
177
Social soundmaking as a precursor to spoken language
190
The particulate origins of language generativity from syllable to gesture
202
Fitness and the selective adaptation of language
359
Synthesizing the origins of language and meaning using coevolution selforganization and level formation
384
Computational simulations of the emergence of grammar
405
Index
427
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