on 14 September 2003
It is an exciting time when another compilation on the subject of language evolution edited by the likes of Simon Kirby and Morten Christiansen comes along. This volume, like its predecessors, is packed with musings by the full spectrum of leading contemporary theorists and investigators in the "field" of language evolution. Yes, it is technical (reflecting the field's growing maturity and sophistication) and readers may benefit from at least a passing acquaitance with some of the directions apparent in the field, but it is thorough and satisfyingly representative of the views of major current contributors to the debate. Deacon, Tomasello, Hurford, and the editors are all contributors, along with along with Bickerton and Davidson, amongst a host of others.
The role of gestures as precusors to the advent of speech is explored, the role of neuronal sub-structures in language processing, and the possible interaction of universal grammar with respect to semiotics are amongst the topics addressed.
If you want a reasonably concise, yet quite thorough snapshot of the current stage of this rapidly expanding and maturing field, then this volume is absolutely perfect: highly recommended for interested students, academics, and members of the lay public.