Birdsong, Speech, and Language

Exploring the Evolution of Mind and Brain


Author: Johan J. Bolhuis,Martin Everaert

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262018608

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 542

View: 7951

Leading scholars draw on the latest research to explore what birdsong can tell us about the biology of human speech and language and the consequences for evolutionary biology.

How Language Began

The Story of Humanity’s Greatest Invention


Author: Daniel Everett

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1782831282

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 330

View: 3649

In his groundbreaking new book Daniel Everett seeks answers to questions that have perplexed thinkers from Plato to Chomsky: when and how did language begin? what is it? and what is it for? Daniel Everett confounds the conventional wisdom that language originated with Homo sapiens 150,000 years ago and that we have a 'language instinct'. Drawing on evidence from a wide range of fields, including linguistics, archaeology, biology, anthropology and neuroscience, he shows that our ancient ancestors, Homo erectus, had the biological and mental equipment for speech one and half million years ago, and that their cultural and technological achievements (including building ocean-going boats) make it overwhelmingly likely they spoke some kind of language. How Language Began sheds new light on language and culture and what it means to be human and, as always, Daniel Everett spices his account with incident and anecdote. His book is convincing, arresting and entertaining.

The Evolutionary Emergence of Language

Evidence and Inference


Author: Rudolf Botha,Martin Everaert

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199654840

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 334

View: 8206

The book presents new and stimulating approaches to the study of language evolution and considers their implications for future research. Leading scholars from linguistics, primatology, anthroplogy, and cognitive science consider how language evolution can be understood by means of inference from the study of linked or analogous phenomena in language, animal behaviour, genetics, neurology, culture, and biology. In their introduction the editors show how these approaches can be interrelated and deployed together through their use of comparable forms of inference and the similar conditions they place on the use of evidence. The Evolutionary Emergence of Language will interest everyone concerned with this intriguing and important subject, including those in linguistics, biology, anthropology, archaeology, neurology, and cognitive science.

Language Acquisition

The Age Factor


Author: Prof. David Singleton,Lisa Ryan

Publisher: Multilingual Matters

ISBN: 1847699294

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 264

View: 5499

This book examines the evidence relative to the idea that there is an age factor in first and second language acquisition, evidence that has sources ranging from studies of feral children to evaluations of language programmes in primary schools. It goes on to explore the various explanations that have been advanced to account for such evidence. Finally, it looks at the educational ramifications of the age question, with particular regard to formal second language teaching in the early school years and in ‘third age’ contexts.

Primate Communication and Human Language

Vocalisation, gestures, imitation and deixis in humans and non-humans


Author: Anne Vilain,Jean-Luc Schwartz,Christian Abry,Jacques Vauclair

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing

ISBN: 9027287317

Category: Science

Page: 239

View: 1512

After a long period where it has been conceived as iconoclastic and almost forbidden, the question of language origins is now at the centre of a rich debate, confronting acute proposals and original theories. Most importantly, the debate is nourished by a large set of experimental data from disciplines surrounding language. The editors of the present book have gathered researchers from various fields, with the common objective of taking as seriously as possible the search for continuities from non-human primate vocal and gestural communication systems to human speech and language, in a multidisciplinary perspective combining ethology, neuroscience, developmental psychology and linguistics, as well as computer science and robotics. New data and theoretical elaborations on the emergence of referential communication and language are debated here by some of the most creative scientists in the world.

Neurobiology of human language and its evolution: Primate and Nonprimate Perspectives


Author: Constance Scharff,Angela D. Friederici,Michael Petrides

Publisher: Frontiers E-books

ISBN: 9782889191116


Page: N.A

View: 1452

The evolution of human language has been discussed for centuries from different perspectives. Linguistic theory has proposed grammar as a core part of human language that has to be considered in this context. Recent advances in neurosciences have allowed us to take a new neurobiological look on the similarities and dissimilarities of cognitive capacities and their neural basis across both closely and distantly related species. A couple of decades ago the comparisons were mainly drawn between human and non-human primates, investigating the cytoarchitecture of particular brain areas and their structural connectivity. Moreover, comparative studies were conducted with respect to their ability to process grammars of different complexity. So far the available data suggest that non-human primates are able to learn simple probabilistic grammars, but not hierarchically structured complex grammars. The human brain, which easily learns both grammars, differs from the non-human brain (among others) in how two language-relevant brain regions (Broca’s area and superior temporal cortex) are connected structurally. Whether the more dominant dorsal pathway in humans compared to non-human primates is causally related to this behavioral difference is an issue of current debate. Ontogenetic findings suggest at least a correlation between the maturation of the dorsal pathway and the behavior to process syntactically complex structures, although a causal prove is still not available. Thus the neural basis of complex grammar processing in humans remains to be defined. More recently it has been reported that songbirds are also able to distinguish between sound sequences reflecting complex grammar. Interestingly, songbirds learn to sing by imitating adult song in a process not unlike language development in children. Moreover, the neural circuits supporting this behavior in songbirds bear anatomical and functional similarities to those in humans. In adult humans the fiber tract connecting the auditory cortex and motor cortex dorsally is known to be involved in the repetition of spoken language. This pathway is present already at birth and is taken to play a major role during language acquisition. In songbirds, detailed information exist concerning the interaction of auditory, motor and cortical-basal ganglia processing during song learning, and present a rich substrate for comparative studies. The scope of the Research Topic is to bring together contributions of researchers from different fields, who investigate grammar processing in humans, non-human primates and songbirds with the aim to find answers to the question of what constitutes the neurobiological basis of grammar learning. Open questions are: Which brain networks are relevant for grammar learning? Is there more than one dorsal pathway (one from temporal cortex to motor cortex and one to Broca’s area) and if so what are their functions? Has the ability to process sequences of a given hierarchical complexity evolved in different phylogenetic lines (birds, primates, other vocal production learners such as bats)? Is the presence of a sensory-to-motor circuit in humans a precondition for development of a dorsal pathway between the temporal cortex and Broca’s area? What role do subcortical structures (Basal Ganglia) play in vocal and grammar learning?

Brain-behavior relationships in songbird common molecular mechanisms for birdsong and human speech


Author: Ikuko Teramitsu

Publisher: N.A



Page: 344

View: 6483

Biological research relies heavily on animal models that enable direct physiological analyses. Each animal model is suitable to address different scientific questions. The songbird is a leading model for study of brain-behavior relationships, especially as a model for human speech. The strength of the songbird as a model lies in the rich complexity of singing behavior that is quantifiable and the identified neural circuitry which controls this learned behavior. Here, I study a songbird, zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata ), as a model for vocal learning in order to unveil molecular mechanisms that are potentially shared between songbirds and humans.

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax


Author: Martin Everaert,Henk C. Van Riemsdijk

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

ISBN: 9781118358726

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 5264

View: 864

An invaluable reference tool for students and researchers in theoretical linguistics, The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Second Edition has been updated to incorporate the last 10 years of syntactic research and expanded to include a wider array of important case studies in the syntax of a broad array of languages. A revised and expanded edition of this invaluable reference tool for students and researchers in linguistics, now incorporating the last 10 years of syntactic research Contains over 120 chapters that explain, analyze, and contextualize important empirical studies within syntax over the last 50 years Charts the development and historiography of syntactic theory with coverage of the most important subdomains of syntax Brings together cutting-edge contributions from a global group of linguists under the editorship of two esteemed syntacticians Provides an essential and unparalleled collection of research within the field of syntax, available both online and across 8 print volumes This work is also available as an online resource at

Language Experience in Second Language Speech Learning

In Honor of James Emil Flege


Author: Ocke-Schwen Bohn,Murray J. Munro

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing

ISBN: 9789027219732

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 406

View: 7725

Deals with the language experience in second language speech learning

The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics


Author: Claire Bowern,Bethwyn Evans

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317743245

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 758

View: 6422

The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics provides a survey of the field covering the methods which underpin current work; models of language change; and the importance of historical linguistics for other subfields of linguistics and other disciplines. Divided into five sections, the volume encompass a wide range of approaches and addresses issues in the following areas: historical perspectives methods and models language change interfaces regional summaries Each of the thirty-two chapters is written by a specialist in the field and provides: a introduction to the subject; an analysis of the relationship between the diachronic and synchronic study of the topic; an overview of the main current and critical trends; and examples from primary data. The Routledge Handbook of Historical Linguistics is essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students working in this area. Chapter 28 of this book is available for free in PDF format as Open Access at It has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 license.