Some time since we and the chimpanzees went our separate evolutionary ways, probably towards the very end of that 6 million year period, an innovation occurred whose only precedent was arguably the DNA code itself. Language arose in our ancestors, and there had been nothing like it. Of course other species communicate, many of them vocally, but none of this comes close to the open-ended, generative capacity, the huge vocabulary, the nuanced subtlety, the permanent recordability of language. As an outsider, it is with real fascination that I have read this compendium. One of the merits of any book is its capacity to stimulate the reader to think beyond its confines. This, and other merits are possessed by Language Evolution in abundance. (Richard Dawkins)
This book offers the current states of the art on the subject of language evolution, covering just about every scientific discipline that has a stake in answering the questions it raises. (Pragmatics)
Language Evolution is a brave attempt at a state-of-the-art survey of language origin research at the beginning of the millennium. (Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, Science)
The evolutionary origins of language should intrigue anyone interested in the relationship of humans to other species. For them, Language Evolution will provide a useful starting point. (Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, Science)
In the beginning there was no language. Now there is. Language Evolution describes the passage as a wonderful voyage of discovery. (Nurturing Potential)
About the Author
Morten H. Christiansen is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Cornell University. He is co-editor of Connectionist Psycholinguistics published by Ablex in 2001. Simon Kirby is a British Academy Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh: his book, Function, Selection, and Innateness was published by OUP in 1999.