The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language

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Penguin, Jul 19, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 368 pages
4 Reviews
An accessible exploration of a burgeoning new field: the incredible evolution of language

The first popular book to recount the exciting, very recent developments in tracing the origins of language, The First Word is at the forefront of a controversial, compelling new field. Acclaimed science writer Christine Kenneally explains how a relatively small group of scientists that include Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker assembled the astounding narrative of how the fundamental process of evolution produced a linguistic ape?in other words, us. Infused with the wonder of discovery, this vital and engrossing book offers us all a better understanding of the story of humankind.
 

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User Review  - dickmanikowski - LibraryThing

While this wasn't the book I expected it to be, it was great. I'd expected something tracing modern languages back to their roots--Italian back to Latin back to that languages's Indo-European roots ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - krazy4katz - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this book as a non-expert. I found the writing casual, but interesting. It introduced concepts about the evolution of language that I had never considered. I was surprised to find out how ... Read full review

Contents

Prelude
Introduction
I  LANGUAGE IS NOT A THING
Prologue
1 Noam Chomsky
2 Sue SavageRumbaugh
3 Steven Pinker and Paul Bloom
4 Philip Lieberman
11 Your genes have human mutations
III  WHAT EVOLVES?
 
12 Species evolve
13 Culture evolves
14 Why things evolve
IV  WHERE NEXT?
15 The future of the debate

II  IF YOU HAVE HUMAN LANGUAGE
 
5 You have something to talk about
6 You have words
7 You have gestures
8 You have speech
9 You have structure
10 You have a human brain
16 The future of language and evolution
The babies of Galápagos
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Author of The Invisible History of the Human Race and The First WordChristine Kenneally is an award-winning journalist who has written for The New Yorker, the New York Times, Slate, Time, New Scientist, The Monthly, and other publications. Before becoming a reporter, she received a PhD in linguistics from Cambridge University and a BA (with honors) in English and linguistics from Melbourne University. She was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and has lived in England, Iowa, and Brooklyn, New York.

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