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Routes to Child Language

Details

  • 22 b/w illus. 34 tables
  • Page extent: 296 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.446 kg

Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521033978)

A remarkable case study based on a detailed comparison of non-human primates and human infants brings together key abilities that provide the foundation for language. This link makes the case for phylogenetic continuity across species and ontogenetic continuity from infancy to childhood. Examined here are the fundamental aspects of language acquisition, such as vocalizations, mapping of meaning on to sound, use of gestures to communicate and to symbolize, tool use, object concept and memory. This volume goes a step further to analyse the similarities and differences across species, and how these influence the evolution of language. The author provides evidence linking abilities associated with language acquisition and describes fascinating hypotheses about the origins of language.

• Takes an explicit continuity approach, searching for precursors to language both in non-human primates and in infancy • Reviews a wealth of data from apes and infants on these precursors and compares them in detail • Discusses the implications of this evidence for the origin and evolution of language

Contents

Preface; 1. Prelinguistic vocalizations; 2. Sound-meaning correspondences; 3. Communicative gestures; 4. Symbolic gestures and symbolic play; 5. Tool use and object concept; 6. Representation in human infants; 7. Memory in nonhuman primates and young children; 8. Origins of language; 9. Recapitulation; References; Index.

Review

'Routes to Child Language: Evolutionary and Developmental Precursors is a stunning achievement which surely represents a new paradigm in language acquisition studies. Demonstrating a remarkable breadth and depth of scope, Joanna Blake weaves a unique tapestry from research of nonhuman primate communication, spoken language development, gesture, symbolic play, object concept, tool use, and the study of memory. As we continue to explore the perennial questions of how language began and how children develop language, it will be richly multidisciplinary studies such as Blake's that will contribute the most to our understanding of the complex achievement that is human language.' Sherman Wilcox, University of New Mexico

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