A contemporary look at language origins

Avant: Trends in Interdisciplinary Studies 7 (2):68-81 (2016)
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Abstract

Why is language unique? How did language come about? When did this happen? These questions, although quite emblematic of the Western intellectual tradition since its ancient beginnings, so far have not found satisfying answers. Indeed, many still question the very possibility of addressing these basic problems of the origins of language with proper scientific rigor. However, an emerging consensus is that current research in the field of language evolution is in fact bearing fruit, making it at least possible to judge in an informed manner which of these competing scenarios are far more or less probable. In what follows, I guide the reader through some of this research and some of these scenarios; for more details, I refer the reader to a recent book, which is the first monograph that presents this developing field of language evolution research to the Polish reader.

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