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The Making of Language (2011)

The Making of Language

Author(s): Mike Beaken

Publisher: Dunedin, Year: 2011

ISBN: 978-1-906716-14-1

Since the first edition of this book in 1996 there have been some far-reaching changes in attitudes to the topic of language origins. One of the reasons I gave for writing this book in the first place was the intrinsic interest of the topic. While the record of fossils and of tools and artefacts is absolutely silent on the issue of language, the topic gives rise to so many questions that it calls in all areas of linguistics, as well as archaeology, anthropology, psychology and even musicology. Some of the changes in attitudes are welcome. Fifteen years ago the theory of Universal Grammar was fairly widely accepted among linguists, though less so among archaeologists and hardly at all among anthropologists. Nowadays the notion of innate properties of mind has come to seem less and less an explanation for the mysteries of language, and more and more a cover for ignorance.