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Origins of Human Language: Continuities and Discontinuities with Nonhuman Primates


Louis-Jean Boë, Joël Fagot, Pascal Perrier and Jean-Luc Schwartz

This book proposes a detailed picture of the continuities and ruptures between communication in primates and language in humans. It explores a diversity of perspectives on the origins of language, including a fine description of vocal communication in animals, mainly in monkeys and apes, but also in birds, the study of vocal tract anatomy and cortical control of the vocal productions in monkeys and apes, the description of combinatory structures and their social and communicative value, and the exploration of the cognitive environment in which language may have emerged from nonhuman primate vocal or gestural communication.

Vocal Repertoire of Captive Guinea Baboons – Exploring Baboon Vocalizations with Speech Science Techniques – Origins of Human Consonants and Vowels: Articulatory Continuities with Great Apes – Comparative Anatomy of the Baboon and Human Vocal Tracts – Evolution of the laryngeal motor cortex for speech production – Motor and Communicative Correlates of the Inferior Frontal Gyrus – From Animal Communication to Linguistics and Back – Primate Roots of Speech and Language – What gestures of nonhuman primates can (and cannot) tell us about language evolution – Dendrophilia and the Evolution of Syntax – Comparing Human and Nonhuman Animal Performance on Domain-General Functions