Toward an Evolutionary Biology of Language

Philip Lieberman (Author)
Backorder

Description

In this forcefully argued book, the leading evolutionary theorist of language draws on evidence from evolutionary biology, genetics, physical anthropology, anatomy, and neuroscience, to provide a framework for studying the evolution of human language and cognition.

Philip Lieberman argues forcibly that the widely influential theories of language's development, advanced by Chomskian linguists and cognitive scientists, especially those that postulate a single dedicated language "module," "organ," or "instinct," are inconsistent with principles and findings of evolutionary biology and neuroscience. He argues that the human neural system in its totality is the basis for the human language ability, for it requires the coordination of neural circuits that regulate motor control with memory and higher cognitive functions. Pointing out that articulate speech is a remarkably efficient means of conveying information, Lieberman also highlights the adaptive significance of the human tongue.

Fully human language involves the species-specific anatomy of speech, together with the neural capacity for thought and movement. In Lieberman's iconoclastic Darwinian view, the human language ability is the confluence of a succession of separate evolutionary developments, jury-rigged by natural selection to work together for an evolutionarily unique ability.

Product Details

Price
$88.20
Publisher
Belknap Press
Publish Date
May 01, 2006
Pages
427
Dimensions
6.34 X 1.4 X 9.54 inches | 1.96 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780674021846

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Philip Lieberman is University Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University. He has written many books on the brain, evolution, and speech, and his photos are exhibited around the world.

Reviews

Discussions of language tend to start from the assumption that it is a uniquely human trait without antecedent in the animal kingdom. Toward an Evolutionary Biology of Language forcefully challenges this assumption. Lieberman brings together a wide range of evidence from comparative anatomy, physiology, neurobiology, genetics, neuropsychology, and linguistics to illuminate the protolinguistic abilities in other species.-- (11/10/2006)