Volume issued after the London Conference (1998)


The Evolutionary Emergence of Language:

Social function and the origins of linguistic form

Chris Knight, James R. Hurford and Michael Studdert-Kennedy (eds)

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (in press).




  1. Studdert-Kennedy, Michael, Knight, Chris and Hurford, James R., ‘Introduction – The evolutionary emergence of language: Social function and the origins of linguistic form’
  2. Section I: The evolution of cooperative communication


  3. Knight, Chris, ‘Introduction – The evolution of cooperative communication’
  4. Burling, Robbins, ‘Comprehension, production and conventionalization in the origins of language’
  5. Noble, Jason, ‘Co-operation, competition and the evolution of pre-linguistic communication’
  6. Dessalles, Jean-Louis, ‘Language and hominid politics’
  7. Power, Camilla, ‘Secret language use at female initiation: Bounding gossiping communities’
  8. Knight, Chris, ‘Play as a precursor of phonology and syntax’
  9. Section II: The emergence of phonetic structure


  10. Studdert-Kennedy, Michael, ‘Introduction – The emergence of phonetic structure’
  11. Vihman, Marilyn M. & DePaolis, Rory A., ‘The role of mimesis in infant language development: Evidence for phylogeny?’
  12. MacNeilage, Peter J. & Davis, Barbara L., ‘Evolution of speech: The relation between ontogeny and phylogeny’
  13. Studdert-Kennedy, Michael, ‘Evolutionary implications of the particulate principle: Imitation and the dissociation of phonetic form from semantic function’
  14. Boer, Bart de, ‘Emergence of sound systems through self-organisation’
  15. Livingstone, Daniel & Fyfe, Colin, ‘Modelling language-physiology coevolution’
  16. Section III: The evolution of syntax


  17. Hurford, James R., ‘The emergence of syntax’
  18. Lightfoot, David, ‘The spandrels of the linguistic genotype’
  19. Carstairs-McCarthy, Andrew, ‘The distinction between sentences and noun phrases: An impediment to language evolution?’
  20. Bickerton, Derek, ‘How protolanguage became language’
  21. Wray, Alison, ‘Holistic utterances in protolanguage: The link from primates to humans’
  22. Kirby, Simon, ‘Syntax without natural selection: How compositionality emerges from vocabulary in a population of learners’
  23. Hurford, James R., ‘Social transmission favours linguistic generalization’
  24. Worden, Robert P., ‘Words, memes and language evolution’
  25. Newmeyer, Frederick, J., ‘On the reconstruction of ‘Proto-world’ word order’
  26. Epilogue


  27. Pagel, Mark, ‘The history, rate and pattern of world linguistic evolution’


The Paris Conference