OUP Handbook of Language Evolution

Eds. Maggie Tallerman & Kathleen Gibson


Outline as at 7 August 2008. All titles are provisional. Order of chapters has not yet been determined.


Part 1 (Cognition and communication in other species)


Robert Seyfarth & Dorothy Cheney

Primate social cognition as a precursor to language.                              


Frans B.M. de Waal & Amy S. Pollick

Ape communication hints at the role of gesture in language evolution      


Klaus Zuberbühler

The primate roots of human language: Natural communication skills in monkeys and apes          


Kathleen Gibson awaiting title and abstract

Ape language research. Tool use and manipulation; cognitive skills.       


Peter Slater

Birdsong and human language                                                                                                  


Vincent M. Janik

Vocal communication and cognition in cetaceans                                              


David Premack awaiting title and abstract

Animal cognition and communication: an overview  


Part 2 (The biology of language: morphology and genetics)


Ann MacLarnon

The anatomical and physiological basis of human speech production: adaptations and exaptations          


Wendy Wilkins

Biological plausibility and comparative anatomy                                                


William D. Hopkins & Jacques Vauclair

Evolution of behavioral and brain asymmetries in primates with specific reference to theories on the origins of language                                                                                       

 Michael Arbib

Mirror Systems: evolving imitation and the bridge from praxis to language                      


Jim Hurford

The significance of  mirror neurons for language evolution


Frederick L. Coolidge & Thomas Wynn

Working memory and the evolution of language                                                                     


Rebecca Cann & Karl Diller

Genetic influences on language evolution: an evaluation of the evidence              


Brigitte Pakendorf

Prehistoric population contact and language change                                                      


Awaiting author

Language disorders. Specific language impairment and what it might tell us about language evolution;  development disorders (KE family).                                                     


Part 3 (Pre-history of language: archaeology, social & cognitive evolution)


Bernard Wood

Early hominin fossil record and the hard-tissue evidence for language evolution  


Alan Mann

Evolution of the genus Homo and the origins of  ‘Humanness’


Awaiting author

Out of Africa vs. multiregional hypothesis.  Mitochondrial DNA. Y-chromosome evidence.                                                                                                                                 

Bill Calvin awaiting title and abstract

Climatic and environmental changes and their relevance to encephalization and language evolution                                                                                                       

Stanley Ambrose

Co-evolution of paleolithic technology and grammatical speech             


Francesco d'Errico & Marian Vanhaeren

Linguistic implications of the earliest personal ornaments


Rudolf Botha

Inferring language from prehistoric objects        


Terrence Deacon

The symbol concept: History, semiotic foundation, neural and evolutionary significance 


Szabolcs Számadó & Eörs Szathmáry

Evolutionary biological foundations of the origin of language                  

Scenarios and specific selection pressures in language evolution.

(i).        Robin Dunbar, Reconstructing the origins of language

(ii).       Dean Falk, The role of hominin mothers and infants in prelinguistic evolution

(iii).      Chris Knight & Camilla Power, Social conditions for the emergence of language

(iv).      Kathleen Gibson, foraging. awaiting title

(vi).      Steve Mithen, Musicality and language origins

(vii)      William Calvin (on throwing) awaiting title

(viii)      Merlin Donald, The mimetic origins of language

(ix)       Stevan Harnad, From sensorimotor categories to grounded symbols: The transition from praxis, pointing and pantomime to propositions


Part 4 (Launching language: the development of a linguistic species)


Robbins Burling

What had to evolve to let us talk?                                                                                 


W. Tecumseh Fitch

What’s innate about human language? An epigenetic perspective                       


Maggie Tallerman awaiting title and abstract

What’s special about syntax?


John Locke

Vocal and verbal displays. A fitness account of language, situated in development


Peter MacNeilage

The evolution of phonology                                                                                          


Bart de Boer

Infant-directed speech and language evolution                                                  


Bart de Boer

Self-organization and language evolution                                                                       


Katharine Graf-Estes

Statistical language learning and language acquisition                                         


Maggie Tallerman awaiting abstract

The protolanguage debate


Michael C. Corballis

Language as gesture                                                                                                     


Derek Bickerton 

The origins of syntax: beyond nature vs. nurture                                    


Kenny Smith

Why formal models are useful for evolutionary linguists                                     


Simon Kirby

Language is an adaptive system: the role of cultural evolution in the origins of structure   


Morten Christiansen & Nick Chater 

A solution to the logical problem of language evolution: Language as an adaptation to the human                           


Angelo Cangelosi                                                                                   



Bernd Heine & Tania Kuteva

Grammatalization theory as a tool for reconstructing language evolution             


James R. Hurford

The origins of meaning                                                                                     


Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy

Have all languages evolved to a state of equal complexity?        


Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy

The evolution of morphology  

Cedric Boeckx
Darwin’s problem in a biolinguistic setting


David Lightfoot

Natural selectionitis


Paul Roberge

Pidgins, creoles, and the creation of language                                        


Susan Goldin-Meadow

What modern-day gesture can tell us about language evolution                          


Johanna Nichols 

A single ancestral language for all humanity?                                                                                                                                    















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