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New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: The Emergence of Protolanguage
Subtitle: Holophrasis vs compositionality
Edited By: MIchael A Arbib
Derek Bickerton
Series Title: Benjamins Current Topics 24

Somewhere and somehow, in the 5 to 7 million years since the last common
ancestors of humans and the great apes, our ancestors “got” language. The
authors of this volume all agree that there was no single mutation or
cultural innovation that took our ancestors directly from a limited system
of a few vocalizations (primarily innate) and gestures (some learned) to
language. They further agree to use the term “protolanguage” for the
beginnings of an open system of symbolic communication that provided the
bridge to the use of fully expressive languages, rich in both lexicon and
grammar. But here consensus ends, and the theories presented here range
from the compositional view that protolanguage was based primarily
on words akin to the nouns and verbs, etc., we know today with only syntax
lacking to the holophrastic view that protolanguage used protowords
which had no meaningful subunits which might nonetheless refer to complex
but significantly recurrent events.

The present volume does not decide the matter but it does advance our
understanding. The lack of any direct archaeological record of
protolanguage might seem to raise insuperable difficulties. However, this
volume exhibits the diversity of
methodologies that can be brought to bear in developing datasets that can
be used to advance the debate.

These articles were originally published as Interaction Studies 9:1 (2008).

Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: John Benjamins
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BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
History of Linguistics
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Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9789027287823
Prices: Europe EURO 85.00
Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9789027222541
Prices: U.K. £ 85.00
Europe EURO 90.10
U.S. $ 128.00
Format: Electronic
ISBN-13: 9789027287823
Prices: U.S. $ 128.00