Once declared an unworthy pursuit for learned linguists, the study of language origins has recently become a matter of intensive respectable research. The change is understandable, because, while the nineteenth-century imaginative linguists could only speculate, today’s scientists can soberly investigate and present the hard data that could serve to outline the gradual evolution that led to the emergence and development of oral communication. Tracing that process or, rather, contributing to that effort, is the objective of this collection of articles and the collective endeavor of their authors, who from their own specific vantage points – primatology, anthropology, anatomy, cognition, neurology, linguistics, and sociology – are presenting data and analyses that will help the reader to gain better insight and clearer understanding of how humans have developed that fascinating tool of ours – language.
Frankfurt/M., Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2000. XII, 385 pp., num. fig.
Contents: Uwe Jürgens: A comparison of the neural system underlying speech and non-speech vocal utterances – Ivo Budil: Evolution
of vocal communication. Evidence from palaeo-laryngology – Sonia Ragir: How is a stone tool like a sentence? – Tiziano Telleschi:
Origins of language and of society-culture relationships – Merlin Donald: Preconditions for the evolution of protolanguages
– Leonard Rolfe: Phonesthemes as primary word forms – Stan Voronin: Approaching the iconic theory of language origin. Pertinent
laws and tendencies from phonosemantics – Robin Allott: The articulatory basis of the alphabet – Alexander N. Kornev: Toward
a neuropsychological model of phonological development – Tatiana V. Chernigovskaya/Yu. V. Natochin/V. V. Menshutkin: Principles
of the evolution of natural and computer languages and physiological systems – Brigitte L. M. Bauer: From Latin to French:
The linear development of word order – Alberto Nocentini: Homonymy, synonymy and duality of patterning. About the distinctive
properties of human language – Vadim B. Kasevich: On Universal Grammar and cognitive primitives – James Cooke Brown: What
can be learned from thirty years of teaching a logical language about the probable course of language evolution? – Walburga
von Raffler-Engel: Personality formation during the pre-natal stage – Jordi Magraner: Oral statements concerning living
unknown hominids. Analysis, criticism, and implications for language origins.