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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: How Language Began
Subtitle: Gesture and Speech in Human Evolution
Written By: David McNeill
Series Title: Approaches to the Evolution of Language

Human language is not the same as human speech. We use gestures and signs to communicate alongside, or instead of, speaking. Yet gestures and speech are processed in the same areas of the human brain, and the study of how both have evolved is central to research on the origins of human communication. Written by one of the pioneers of the field, this is the first book to explain how speech and gesture evolved together into a system that all humans possess. Nearly all theorizing about the origins of language either ignores gesture, views it as an add-on or supposes that language began in gesture and was later replaced by speech. David McNeill challenges the popular 'gesture-first' theory that language first emerged in a gesture-only form and proposes a groundbreaking theory of the evolution of language which explains how speech and gesture became unified. Table of Contents 1. Introduction – gesture and the origin of language 2. What evolved (in part) – the Growth Point 3. How it evolved (in part) – Mead's Loop 4. Effects of Mead's Loop 5. Ontogenesis in evolution – evolution in ontogenesis 6. Alternatives, their limits, and the science base of the Growth Point

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN-13: 9781107021211
Pages: 278
Prices: U.S. $ 95.00

Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 9781107605497
Pages: 275
Prices: U.S. $ 36.99