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Origins of Language: A Slim Guide (Hardback)James R. Hurford (author)
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 182
Weight: 360 g
Dimensions: 225 x 157 x 18 mm
Jim Hurford has produced a work of stunning depth and breadth, expertly condensed in this slim guide. These are notoriously difficult questions: How did the capacity for language evolve in the deep history of our species? How do different languages evolve in the more recent histories of our societies? Hurford is one of the few scholars with the authority and interdisciplinary reach to give us compelling and plausible answers. The Origins of Language is a rare achievement, and highly recommended. * N. J. Enfield, Max Planck Institute, Nijmegen, and University of Sydney *
Clear-haded, authoritative and marvellously succint. * Chris Knight, Times Higher Education *
Hurford has written a delightful little book, an ideal point of entry into the range of complex issues facing anyone that wants to understand how human language evolved. Darwin himself would have cherished this guide. * Cedric Boeckx, ICREA/Universitat de Barcelona *
No one has thought more deeply about the evolution of the human language faculty than James Hurford, and no one writes about the topic more engagingly. In this book he explains and synthesizes the most important findings concerning language evolution from across a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including linguistics, biology, ethology, psychology, and cognitive science. His writing is always grounded in evidence-based argumentation, yet is informative and clear for the non-specialist reader. To introduce in such a short work all the major aspects of the evolution of language from the beginnings of a special human type of communication to the emergence of sound systems, through meaning to symbolic words to sentence structure is an impressive feat. To make it not only thorough but thoroughly readable is a real achievement. A lovely little book: great fun, cogent, and scientifically solid. * Maggie Tallerman, Newcastle University *
Hurford's survey can be thoroughly recommended. * Geoffrey Sampson, Language and Dialogue *
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