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The Cradle of Language (Studies in the Evolution of Language) [Paperback]

Rudolf Botha , Chris Knight

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Book Description

30 April 2009 0199545863 978-0199545865
This book is the first to focus on the African origins of human language. It explores the origins of language and culture 250,000-150,000 years ago when modern humans evolved in Africa. Scholars from around the world address the fossil, genetic, and archaeological evidence and critically examine the ways it has been interpreted. The book also considers parallel developments among Europe's Neanderthals and the contrasting outcomes for the two species. Following an extensive introduction contextualizing and linking the book's topics and approaches, fifteen chapters bring together many of the most significant recent findings and developments in modern human origins research. The fields represented by the authors include genetics, biology, behavioural ecology, linguistics, archaeology, cognitive science, and anthropology.

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About the Author

Rudolf Botha is Emeritus Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Stellenbosch, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at Utrecht University, and a Fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (2001-02 & 2005-06). His books include Form and Meaning in Word Formation: A Study of Afrikaans Reduplication (CUP 1988), Challenging Chomsky: The Generative Garden Game (Blackwell 1989), and Unravelling the Evolution of Language (Elsevier 2003).

Chris Knight is Professor of Anthropology at the University of East London. Best known for his 1991 book, 'Blood Relations: Menstruation and the origins of culture', he helped initiate the Evolution of Language (evolang) series of international conferences and has published widely on the evolutionary emergence of language and symbolic culture. His next book will be The Human Conspiracy: Speech, deception and the selfish gene.

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Amazon.com: 2.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT a linguistics book 13 Nov 2013
By Joey Stanley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I bought this book expecting linguistics. It is most definitely NOT a linguistics book. It touches on a lot of topics including archaeology, anthropology, and evolution. I will say that there are a few good chapters on linguistics (A chapter called "How varied typologically are the languages of Africa?" and another called "What click languages can and can't tell us about language origins"), plus other interesting points scattered throughout the book. I did finish the book, but didn't get too much out of it. The book uses a lot of technical terms from other fields, making it quite unintelligible to this linguistics graduate. I would recommend the took to people studying evolution, archaeology, and anthropology with a mild interest in language (and NOT the other way around).

Don't get me wrong. It's probably a great book in the appropriate field. That field just isn't linguistics.
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