Language evolution: A brief guide for linguists

  title={Language evolution: A brief guide for linguists},
  author={Derek Bickerton},
Non-spurious correlations between genetic and linguistic diversities in the context of human evolution
The unravelling of causal effects of inter-population genetic differences on linguistic states, mediated by complex processes of cultural evolution (biased iterated learning), will represent a major advance in the understanding of the relationship between cultural and genetic diversities, and will allow a better appreciation of this most fundamental and supremely valuable characteristic of humanity – its intrinsic diversity.
Origin of language and origin of languages
  • G. Graffi
  • Linguistics
    Evolutionary Linguistic Theory
  • 2019
The question of monogenesis vs. polygenesis of human languages was essentially neglected by contemporary linguistics until the appearance of the research on the genetics of human populations by L.
A Saltationist Approach for the Evolution of Human Cognition and Language
It is argued that hominins evolved through major evolutionary leaps, which may have numbered only two or three significant mutation ``events", and further evidence from the fossil and archaeological record supports a ``sudden" emergence of human cognition and language.
The precedence of syntax in the rapid emergence of human language in evolution as defined by the integration hypothesis
It is argued that a full-fledged combinatorial operation Merge triggered the integration of two pre-adapted systems, giving rise to a fully developed language, going against the gradualist view that language has undergone a series of gradual changes.
The creation of pidgins as a possible window on language evolution
It is argued that the creation of 'modern' pidgin languages does indeed provide such a window on language evolution, though not along the lines that have been proposed to date.
Language as technology
Over the past two decades, studies of the phylogenetic emergence of language have typically focused on grammatical characteristics, especially those that distinguish modern languages from animal
Natural/sexual selection: What’s language (evolution) got to do with it?
Abstract By considering a specific scenario of early language evolution, here I advocate taking into account one of the most obvious players in the evolution of human language capacity: (sexual)
Beyond the individual in the evolution of language
This thesis concerns the evolution of language. A proliferation of theoretical models have been presented in recent years purporting to offer evolutionary accounts for various aspects of modern
The Emergence of Complexity in Language: An Evolutionary Perspective
The author addresses the issues of the many interpretations of ‘complexity’ applying to language, of the description of the interactive agents that produce the above characteristics, and of the causes of the “chaos” which prompts languages to reorganize themselves into new systems.


Linguistic Evolution through Language Acquisition: Formal and Computational Models.
This book is really two books, which do not communicate with each other once one gets past the editor’s introduction in chapter 1, and which use computer simulation to demonstrate that agents with no innate syntactic structure can interact to create and preserve both the lexicon and syntax of languages over many generations.
The faculty of language: what is it, who has it, and how did it evolve?
We argue that an understanding of the faculty of language requires substantial interdisciplinary cooperation. We suggest how current developments in linguistics can be profitably wedded to work in
The faculty of language: what's special about it?
The evolution of language out of pre-language
1. Introduction (by Givon, T.) 2. Part 1. Language and the brain 3. 1. The visual information-processing system as an evolutionaryprecursor of human language (by Givon, T.) 4. 2. Embodied meaning: An
The Evolutionary Emergence of Language: Syntax Without Natural Selection: How Compositionality Emerges from Vocabulary in a Population of Learners
This approach does not deny the possibility that much of the authors' linguistic ability may be explained in terms of natural selection, but it does highlight the fact that biological evolution is by nomeans the only powerful adaptive system at work in the origins of human language.
Language and species
  • D. McNeill
  • Linguistics
    International Journal of Primatology
  • 2006
Bickerton produces his first surprising insight: language is not continuous with animal communication systems, and this is where the evolutionary roots of language should be sought.
Natural language and natural selection
There is every reason to believe that a specialization for grammar evolved by a conventional neo-Darwinian process, as well as other arguments and data.
The evolution of language and languages
Human languages, such as French, Cantonese or American Sign Language, are socio- cultural entities. Knowledge of them (`competence') is acquired by exposure to the ap- propriate environment.
Approaches To The Evolution Of Language: Social And Cognitive Bases
Language evolution and the minimalist program: the origins of syntax Robert C. Berwick, Michael Studdert-Kennedy, Chris Knight, and James R. Hurford.
Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution
Foundations of Language shows one of the most fundamental new thinkings in linguistics since Noam Chomskyis Aspects of the Theory of Syntax in 1965. Foundations of Language opens up vivid new