The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language

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Penguin, Jul 19, 2007 - Science - 368 pages
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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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The first word: the search for the origins of language

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Linguist and journalist Kenneally synthesizes linguistic scholarship regarding the evolution of language, namely, scholarship's development and current conclusions. She shares intriguing accounts of ... Read full review

Excellent and Insightful

User Review  - WestofLeft - Borders

This is a detailed and fascinating review of the course of the evolution of language, as well of the process of establishing that study as a legitimate area of inquiry. Kenneally sets out clearly what ... 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)

Christine Kenneally was born in Australia and received her Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Cambridge. She has written about language, science, and culture for publications such as "The New Yorker, The New York Times, Scientific American," and "Slate,

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