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Evolutionary Syntax

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The Making of Vernacular Singapore English

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This book "proposes a new theory of contact-induced grammatical restructuring" and "offers a new analytical approach to New English from a formal or structural perspective."

Book Information


Title: The Prehistory of Language
Edited By: Rudolf P. Botha
Christopher Knight

'When, why, and how did language evolve?' 'Why do only humans have
language?' This book looks at these and other questions about the origins
and evolution of language. It does so via a rich diversity of perspectives,
including social, cultural, archaeological, palaeoanthropological,
musicological, anatomical, neurobiological, primatological, and linguistic.
Among the subjects it considers are: how far sociality is a prerequisite
for language; the evolutionary links between language and music; the
relation between natural selection and niche construction; the origins of
the lexicon; the role of social play in language development; the use of
signs by great apes; the evolution of syntax; the evolutionary biology of
language; the insights offered by Chomsky's biolinguistic approach to mind
and language; the emergence of recursive language; the selectional
advantages of the human vocal tract; and why women speak better than men.

The authors, drawn from all over the world, are prominent linguists,
psychologists, cognitive scientists, archaeologists, primatologists, social
anthropologists, and specialists in artificial intelligence. As well as
explaining what is understood about the evolution of language, they look
squarely at the formidable obstacles to knowing more - the absence of
direct evidence, for example; the problems of using indirect evidence; the
lack of a common conception of language; confusion about the operation of
natural selection and other processes of change; the scope for
misunderstanding in a multi-disciplinary field, and many more. Despite
these difficulties, the authors in their stylish and readable contributions
to this book are able to show just how much has been achieved in this most
fruitful and fascinating area of research in the social, natural, and
cognitive sciences.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Cognitive Science
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0199545871
ISBN-13: 9780199545872
Pages: 352
Prices: U.K. £ 65.00

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 019954588X
ISBN-13: 9780199545889
Pages: 352
Prices: U.K. £ 21.99