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The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language (2007)

by Christine Kenneally

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5751032,611 (3.78)21
The search for the origin of human language has finally come of age. For centuries, progress in Ur-language research was slow and spasmodic; many scientists came to believe that there was no definitive way to answer its central questions. Then, in the past 20 years, everything changed. Linguist Kenneally shows how linguists, cognitive scientists, animal researchers, biologists, and geneticists have all contributed valuable new insights into language evolution.--From publisher description.… (more)
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» See also 21 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Wonderful book. Clearly written, nuanced in how it approaches endlessly complex problems, and facinating in it's ability to synthesize concepts into a presentable whole (as non-whole as the study -- and issues under study -- happen to be.



link to my published notes:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ajf3xhh9wg3z_301hjxspjj6

( )
  wickenden | Mar 8, 2021 |
Not the last word: I enjoyed this book - a great range of anecdotes and examples that helped me to understand much about language that I had not known of before.
  lonepalm | Feb 5, 2014 |
Wow, this is geeky.
  amaraduende | Mar 30, 2013 |
While this wasn't the book I expected it to be, it was great. I'd expected something tracing modern languages back to their roots--Italian back to Latin back to that languages's Indo-European roots, etc.
Instead, the author explores various issues that modern linguists are investigating regarding the causes of the human phenomenon of language. Are there one or more genes that are responsible for the development of language? Are there antecedents of language in the animal world?
The book goes into a lot of detail. To be honest, I skimmed over parts of it. But I found it interesting enough to read it all the way through. ( )
1 vote dickmanikowski | Jul 27, 2012 |
An excellent investigation into several theories about the origin of language. Kenneally is excited about the possibilities and it shows. ( )
  auraesque | Dec 9, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christine Kenneallyprimary authorall editionscalculated
KnickerbockerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mollica, GregoryCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Agnes (Nessie) Kenneally
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Imagine all of your knowledge about language whirling above your head instead of inside it, each word a star.
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The search for the origin of human language has finally come of age. For centuries, progress in Ur-language research was slow and spasmodic; many scientists came to believe that there was no definitive way to answer its central questions. Then, in the past 20 years, everything changed. Linguist Kenneally shows how linguists, cognitive scientists, animal researchers, biologists, and geneticists have all contributed valuable new insights into language evolution.--From publisher description.

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