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The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Humans never run out of things to say. We explain, we cajole, we gossip, and we flirt--all with the help of language. But how in the space of several million years did we evolve from an ordinary primate that that could not talk to the strange human primate that can't shut up?
In this fascinating, thought-provoking book, Robbins Burling presents the most convincing account
Paperback, 286 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by OUP Oxford (first published January 11th 2005)
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May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Clear and well written. Possibly a tad repetitive sometimes. A believable and understandable theory of the evolution of language.
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Clear and interesting discussion of language evolution.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although it appeared as the fifth book in an academic series published by Oxford University Press, it would have sold well, I believe, in airport bookshops. It is extremely well written, with a wonderful mixture of a seriousness of purpose and a lightness of style, as when the author breaks off his argument to admire the "splendid string of middle initials" in the name of a Dutch primatologist. The subtitle tells what the book is about; the main title is actually rather misleading, since the ...more
Jul 29, 2008 is currently reading it
This is good schtuff. If you have wondered when you watch the gorillas in the zoo what is different between us and them, this is food for such thought. There's no way not to be somewhat speculative in the argument, I guess, but the case laid out here as to why our species evolved toward the language that is now so much a part of what makes humans human is pretty compelling.
Karl Schmiedeskamp
Aug 02, 2009 added it
Recommends it for: People deeply interested in language & human evolution
Recommended to Karl by: luck
This book is hard work and I have to find time and energy to read it but it is well worth it for the wealth of linguistic and evolutionary theory. I intend to read it more than once just to absorb the information.
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