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The Seeds of Speech: Language Origin and Evolution (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  60 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Human language is a weird communication system: it has more in common with birdsong than with the calls of other primates. Jean Aitchison explores the origins of human language and how it has evolved. She likens the search to a vast prehistoric jigsaw puzzle, in which numerous fragments of evidence must be assembled. Such evidence is pieced together from a mixture of lingu ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1996)
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Moetanabbi
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Dit boek las ik in de Nederlandse vertaling : De sprekende aap : Over oorsprong en evolutie van de menselijke taal.
De auteur was me reeds bekend van de Reith Lecture Series 1996 : The language web.
Het is een onderwerp dat me geweldig interesseert en ik heb er al redelijk wat populariserende boeken over gelezen, maar in dit boek ik heb heel wat teruggevonden, waarover ik nog nooit iets gelezen had. Ze slaagt erin voorbeelden te geven van fenomenen die in onze taal eerder als randverschijnsel opt
...more
Roberta
Nov 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent and very well-researched book on the origin of language as a human phenomenon. The writer is widely read, and has referenced studies from anthropology, psychology and history, as well as linguistics, and literature sources that support the views. A book to own and refer to regularly for language enthusiasts and students of linguistics.
Ariane
Jul 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really interesting book. Sometimes, I got a bit lost because a section was heavy in linguistics, but for the most part, I think the average person interested in linguistics would find this book very palatable. The author uses great examples.
Vicki Johnson
May 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Informative and written for the non-linguist, however I just couldn't get past the use of quotes from novels, children's books and Roman philosophers. Fiction and archaic literature cannot provide serious support for non-fiction writing.
Matthias
Nov 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting in some chapters, but a pity that the interesting parts are so concise. Also, I guess more than half of the book is filled with irrelevant quotes from writers, poets and politicians...
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Jean Aitchison is a Professor of Language and Communication in the Faculty of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.

Her main areas of interest include:

Socio-historical linguistics
Language and mind
Language and the media
More about Jean Aitchison...

Other Books in the Series

Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics (9 books)
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  • Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use
  • The English Language: A Historical Introduction
  • How Children Learn Language
  • Language and Society 2ed
  • Language and the Brain
  • Language Change: Progress or Decay?
  • Understanding Children with Language Problems (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics)

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