The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)

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9780199214037: The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved (Oxford Studies in the Evolution of Language)

Humans never run out of things to say. We explain, we cajole, we gossip, and we flirt--all with the help of language. But how in the space of several million years did we evolve from an ordinary primate that that could not talk to the strange human primate that can't shut up?
In this fascinating, thought-provoking book, Robbins Burling presents the most convincing account of the origins of language ever published, shedding new light on how speech affects the way we think, behave, and relate to each other, and offering us a deeper understanding of the nature of language itself. Burling argues that comprehension, rather than production, was the driving force behind the evolution of language--we could understand words before we could produce them. As he develops this insight, he investigates the first links between signs, sounds, and meanings and explores the beginnings of vocabulary and grammar. He explains what the earliest forms of communication are likely to have been, how they worked, and why they were deployed, suggesting that when language began it was probably much more dependent on words like "poke" or "whoosh," words whose sounds have a close association with what they refer to. Only gradually did language develop the immense vocabulary it has today. Burling also examines the qualities of mind and brain needed to support the operations of language and the selective advantages they offered those able to use them.
Written in a crystal-clear style, constantly enlivened by flashes of wit and humor, here is the definitive account on the birth of language.

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About the Author:


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

Review:


"This book contains some good sense, as well as providing a broad overview of the field." --Language


"A fascinating book on the origins of language, how speech affects the way we think, behave, and relate, and how the ape that preceded us learned to talk. This is an important and informative book." --Journal of American Culture


"Burling brings together a wide array of relevant material as well as pertinent contributions from his own fieldwork. The book provides thorough coverage of the topic and the debates surrounding it and is written in a personalized, conversational style that makes for entertaining as well as thought provoking reading. Regardless of one's own area of specialization or personal viewpoint on the various debates, the book is engaging reading because Robbins Burling's passion for his topic shines through." --American Journal of Physical Anthropology


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.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. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780199214037

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. 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. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780199214037

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Book Description Oxford University Press. Book Condition: New. 2007. Paperback. Traces language back to its earliest origins among our distant ape-like forbears several million years ago. This book examines the qualities of mind and brain needed to support the operations of language; investigates the first links between signs, sounds, and meanings; explores the beginnings and prehistories of vocabulary and grammar; and more. Series: Studies in the Evolution of Language. Num Pages: 304 pages, line drawings. BIC Classification: CFF; PSAJ. Category: (UU) Undergraduate. Dimension: 196 x 131 x 17. Weight in Grams: 322. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780199214037

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