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A Critical Introduction to Language Evolution


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Editor introduction; Helen Aristar-Dry.- 1. Introduction to Divergent Views.- Why study language evolution ... or not?.- How ancient is language, and did Neanderthals have it?.- Sudden (saltationist) or gradual emergence?.- The core questions to answer: The Five Problems.- 2. Sudden (Saltationist) Approaches to Language Evolution.- A sampling of saltationist approaches.- All or nothing saltationist scenario (Berwick and Chomsky).- Saltationism with some continuity (Miyagawa).- 3. Gradualist Approaches to Language Evolution.- A sampling of gradualist approaches.- Using the linguistic framework of grammaticalization: Reconstruction of earliest vocabularies (Heine & Kuteva).- Using the linguistic framework of Minimalism: Reconstruction of earliest grammars (Progovac).- In defense of "living fossils" (Jackendoff; Bickerton; Givon; Progovac).- Cultural change or genetic evolution?.- Nurture vs. nature.- Cultural evolution and computer simulation studies.- 4. Putting it all Together: The Language-Brain-Genes Loop.- From language to the brain to the genes, and back.- Specific sexual selection scenario: Language and genes.- Genetic discoveries and experiments: Genes and the brain (via language).- Neuroscientific findings and experiments: Language and the brain (via genes).- What about Neanderthals and other species?.- Conclusions and future prospects

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