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The book presents new and stimulating approaches to the study of language evolution and considers their implications for future research. Leading scholars from linguistics, primatology, anthroplogy, and cognitive science consider how language evolution can be understood by means of inference from the study of linked or analogous phenomena in language, animal behaviour, genetics, neurology, culture, and biology. In their introduction the editors show how these approaches can be interrelated and deployed together through their use of comparable forms of inference and the similar conditions they place on the use of evidence. The Evolutionary Emergence of Language will interest everyone concerned with this intriguing and important subject, including those in linguistics, biology, anthropology, archaeology, neurology, and cognitive science.
This book is a critique of the experiments of recent years that tried to teach language to apes. A survey of the communications systems of apes and monkeys in nature finds these systems differ from language in profound ways because language is a uniquely human attribute.
The Author of this new volume on ant communication demonstrates that information theory is a valuable tool for studying the natural communication of animals. To do so, she pursues a fundamentally new approach to studying animal communication and “linguistic” capacities on the basis of measuring the rate of information transmission and the complexity of transmitted messages. Animals’ communication systems and cognitive abilities have long-since been a topic of particular interest to biologists, psychologists, linguists, and many others, including researchers in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence. The main difficulties in the analysis of animal language have to date been predominantly methodological in nature. Addressing this perennial problem, the elaborated experimental paradigm presented here has been applied to ants, and can be extended to other social species of animals that have the need to memorize and relay complex “messages”. Accordingly, the method opens exciting new dimensions in the study of natural communications in the wild.
Do women talk more than men? Does text messaging make you stupid? Can chimpanzees really talk to us? This fascinating textbook addresses a wide range of language myths, focusing on important big-picture issues such as the rule-governed nature of language or the influence of social factors on how we speak. Case studies and analysis of relevant experiments teach readers the skills to become informed consumers of social science research, while suggested open-ended exercises invite students to reflect further on what they've learned. With coverage of a broad range of topics (cognitive, social, historical), this textbook is ideal for non-technical survey courses in linguistics. Important points are illustrated with specific, memorable examples: invariant 'be' shows the rule-governed nature of African-American English; vulgar female speech in Papua New Guinea shows how beliefs about language and gender are culture-specific. Engaging and accessibly written, Kaplan's lively discussion challenges what we think we know about language.

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