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February’s Book of the Month: Language Evolution

Language Evolution, February’s ‘Book of the Month’, is a four-volume collection from of Routledge’s Critical Concepts in Linguistics series. The text provides an overview of the intensive debate on language evolution following the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. 

View all Reference Book of the Month articles.

Assembling the most important scholarly research concerning the biological evolution of language, Language Evolution includes excerpts from ancient sources such as the Bible, Plato, and Aristotle, along with classical sources like Condillac, Rousseau, and Herder.

The text outlines each of the major conceptions of protolanguage and examines the evolution of our human capacity for speech, as well as focusing on the modern (mostly post-1990) literature attempting to reconcile the Chomskyean approach to linguistics with a Darwinian evolutionary viewpoint. It also incorporates the new insights and approaches based on computer modeling, which have played a growing role in the recent literature.

Providing unified and ready access to a selection of the most important papers from the 1990s onward, this is an important resource for those scholars interested in possessing a deeper, historically informed overview of the immense literature on this topic.

Language Evolution is now available to order online.

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