è The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language × Download by Ó Christine Kenneally

è The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language × Download by Ó Christine Kenneally I picked this up because I wanted to see what happened to evolutionary linguistics after Pinker s Language Instinct The main thing I learned from this book is that not all evolutionary linguists share Steven Pinker s disdain for chimpanzee sign language experiments Kenneally is strongly attached to the view that human language skills are not particularly unique in the animal world Consequently, she paints Noam Chomsky as a villain who, with his focus on complex human syntax and universal grammar and by implication human uniqueness , has led evolutionary linguistics into fruitless controversy and blind paths I m willing to be persuaded about this, but the evidence she presents doesn t establish her case Her writing lacks the charm of Pin In much the way that modern scholars tend to pit Alan Turing against Ludwig Wiggenstein smug and mechanical versus gruff and irreverent Kenneally throws Noam Chomsky in the ring with Phillip Leiberman Chomsky is Platonist at heart, a man who sees things in terms of formal systems, clean mathematical structures, innate capacities Lieberman, conversely, has little use for pretty boxes and arrows He sees language from the bottom up a messy, soft tissue affair that could only have emerged through the laborious trial and error process of natural selection Evolution doesn t give a damn about formal elegance, he bellows.
Between these two poles we find a smattering of other researchers chiefly Sue Savage Rumbaugh, Steven Pinker and Paul Bloom each of whom Kenneally presents with admirable thoroughness and clarity She then pro If you ve ever wondered how different you and your cat are or if Noam Chomsky might be an asshole, you should read this book It doesn t actually say that Noam Chomsky is an asshole, quite the opposite actually, that s just me.
The author writes with great objectivity and keeps thing moving along with an interesting but unobtrusive voice.
Linguistic evolution doesn t grab you Then read it purely for the sections on animal cognition crows and dolphins and apesall mind blowingDid you know that some orangutans kiss each other goodnight Christine Kenneally does a good job of balancing a number of tricky things in this book she takes concepts that are generally not accessible to lay readers and renders them fresh, exciting, and lucid she clearly and coolly maps the human interest and petty or not so petty intellectual conflicts that so unscientifically go into shaping the collective knowledge of academia she brings out the personal stories of individual researchers to lend depth and perspective to their work and, she maps nicely both the path already traveled and the possible directions things can take in the future This is an ambitious, fa Christine Kenneally s The First Word The Search for the Origins of Language presents a fascinating subject I picked it up at the library while there to get something entirely unrelated because it jumped off the shelf and into my hands I have never actually studied linguistics though sometimes I wonder if I should have but I do have a keen amateur interest someone in the office I am currently working in saw me reading this book the other day and asked if I was a linguist I said I was an amateur Is there such a thing as a professional linguist he asked in the subject and often find myself buying, if not reading, books about linguistics The First Word, as I say, seemed interesting, so I picked it up.
And it is interesting, I should make this clear, despite the I will not rate this, I will not mark it as read, because I couldn t possible force myself to finish it.
It is supposed to be about language, the search of its origin, but I did not find any of that in it I will start something else, related to language and linguistics so I can read the narrow ones about the different branches of linguistics A Compelling Look At The Quest For The Origins Of Human Language From An Accomplished Linguist Language Is A Distinctly Human Gift However, Because It Leaves No Permanent Trace, Its Evolution Has Long Been A Mystery, And It Is Only In The Last Fifteen Years That We Have Begun To Understand How Language Came Into Being The First Word Is The Compelling Story Of The Quest For The Origins Of Human Language The Book Follows Two Intertwined Narratives The First Is An Account Of How Language Developed How The Random And Layered Processes Of Evolution Wound Together To Produce A Talking Animal Us The Second Addresses Why Scientists Are At Last Able To Explore The Subject For Than A Hundred Years, Language Evolution Was Considered A Scientific Taboo Kenneally Focuses On Figures Like Noam Chomsky And Steven Pinker, Along With Cognitive Scientists, Biologists, Geneticists, And Animal Researchers, In Order To Answer The Fundamental Question Is Language A Uniquely Human Phenomenon The First Word Is The First Book Of Its Kind Written For A General Audience Sure To Appeal To Fans Of Steven Pinker S The Language Instinct And Jared Diamond S Guns, Germs, And Steel, Kenneally S Book Is Set To Join Them As A Seminal Account Of Human History Language is the real information highway, the first virtual world Language is the worldwide web, and everyone is logged on The First Word The Search for the Origins of Language is a great book filled with many opinions and facts on the topic of language evolution I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters on animal communication and the chapters on the many differing opinions on whether the complexity of the human language is something truly unique The chapter on the studies in human genetics were also very enlightening So why not 5 stars Well, I found that Christine Kenneally contradicts her statements throughout the book I don t know if she does this to emphasize how uncertain the subject of language evolution is at the moment being in it s infancy The fo This was a summary of current research on the cultural, mental and genetic factors involved in the prehistoric origin of language There is a lot of difference of opinion on even to what extent language is an invention like writing was and to what extent it is an instinct, like most animal noises are One of the most interesting parts was whether in language, metaphorically speaking, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny That is, do children learning to speak follow roughly the same order of language acquisition as people did as language was first invented Children start with instinctive sounds like crying, sighing, laughing Then they often pick up exclamations like Wow and Ouch Words like yes and no are not in any animal language Then you get objects and pointing, and later grammar Like most popularizations of science I read, though, there is too much about the lives and p His theories accepted as gospel, Noam Chomsky dominates linguistics, for better or worse, and because Chomsky considers language evolution unimportant, most linguists ignore the subject reflexively Christine Kenneally, however, goes where other linguists fear to tread she ponders the evolution of language, its implications, and why it matters.
Kenneally introduces research I never learned in school, research I find fascinating now Still, I would have liked substantive data much of the research is presented as anecdotes, the finer details glossed over or omitted For example, some say language affects how we view in the world, that without words for things numbers or colors, for example , we cannot see them If this is t

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