Volume issued after the Edinburgh Conference (1996)


Hurford, J. R., Studdert-Kennedy, M. & Knight C. (eds),
Approaches to the Evolution of Language - Social and Cognitive Bases.

Cambridge University Press, 1998

This is one of the first systematic attempts to bring language within the neo-Darwinian framework of modern evolutionary theory. Twenty-four coordinated essays by linguists, phoneticians, anthropologists, psychologists and cognitive scientists explore the origins of the complex structure of human language, emphasizing its social (as opposed to purely practical) bases, and showing the mechanisms by which this structure emerges, is maintained, and develops.



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


Part I. Grounding Language Function in Social Cognition:

1. Introduction: Grounding language function in social cognition
Chris Knight;

2. On discontinuing the continuity-discontinuity debate
Jean Aitchison;

3. The origin of language and cognition
Ib Ulbaek;

4. Mimesis and the executive suite: Missing links in language evolution
Merlin Donald;

5. Ritual/speech co-evolution: A 'selfish gene' solution to the problem of deception
Chris Knight;

6. Theory of mind and the evolution of language
Robin Dunbar;

7. Old wives' tales: The gossip hypothesis and the reliability of cheap signals
Camilla Power;

8. Altruism, status, and the origin of relevance
Jean-Louis Dessalles;

9. The evolution of language from social intelligence
Robert Worden;

Part II. The Emergence of Phonology:

10. Introduction: The emergence of phonology
Michael Studdert-Kennedy;

11. Long call structure in apes as a possible precursor for language
Mária Ujhelyi;

12. Social sound-making as a precursor to spoken language
John Locke;

13. Evolution of the mechanisms of language output: Comparative neurobiology of vocal and manual communication
Peter MacNeilage;

14. The particulate origins of language generativity: From syllable to gesture
Michael Studdert-Kennedy;

15. Systemic constraints and adaptive change in the formation of sound structure
Björn Lindblom;

16. The development of sound systems in human language
Klaus J. Kohler;

17. Synonymy avoidance, phonology and the origin of syntax
Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy;

Part III. The Emergence of Syntax:

18. Introduction: The emergence of syntax
James R. Hurford;

19. On the supposed 'counterfunctionality' of universal grammar: Some evolutionary considerations
Frederick J. Newmeyer;

20. Language evolution and the minimalist program: The origins of syntax
Robert C. Berwick;

21. Catastrophic evolution: The case for a single step from protolanguage to full human language
Derek Bickerton;

22. Fitness and the selective adaptation of language
Simon Kirby;

23. Synthesizing the origins of language and meaning using co-evolution, self-organization and level formation
Luc Steels;

24. Computational simulations of the emergence of grammar
John Batali.

Subject: linguistics

 1998 6 X 9 456 pp. 52 figures 10 tables

 Hardback 0-521-63049-5 $69.95

Paperback 0-521-63964-6 $27.95


The Paris Conference