Why do humans possess language, a unique communication system that singularly combines complex structure, symbolicity, social learning, wide diversity and unlimited expressivity? This chapter presents a comparative evolutionary approach to answering this question. It reveals how the social and cognitive abilities present not only in apes and in extinct hominin species, but also in distantly related animals can help us understand language origin and language evolution. Languages evolved together with our cultural world and with capacities that are extraordinarily developed in our species, such as imitation and cooperation. The idea of co-evolution, which takes into account the intricate patterns of interaction among these and other factors, takes center stage in this review of explanations of the origins and evolution of language.
|Title of host publication||Handbook of Historical Linguistics|
|Place of Publication||Hoboken, NJ|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 2019|