Eve Spoke by Philip Lieberman
Human Language and Human Evolution

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Synopsis

If we were to summon the first man and woman from their prehistoric graves, what would they—indeed, what could they—say to us?

The human imagination never ceases to be captivated by the quest for its own roots. Who were our ancestors? In the evolutionary clash of brains and brawn, what was it that prevailed and made us, Homo sapiens, uniquely human? Today scientists cite language as the distinctively human feature. But what is language—a sign, a grunt? a sound with collective symbolic meaning? This remarkable book seeks to set the record straight with a critical refinement of the language theory, providing us for the first time with a scientific explanation of how Eve came to speak at all.

Wrestling with the age-old question of why such a large gulf exists between humans and other animals, Philip Lieberman mines both the fossil record and modern neuroscientific techniques to chart the development of the anatomy and brain mechanisms necessary for human language as we know it. Eschewing any notion of a language gene or instinct, he pursues instead an evolutionary path in which environment acts on a biological capacity to reveal the interconnectedness of systems that make us most human: precise motor skills, speech, language, and complex thought. Eve Spoke challenges the dominant scientific theories of language's origins and forges a new understanding of the role of language in our evolution.
 

About Philip Lieberman

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Philip Lieberman is the George Hazard Crooker University Professor Emeritus at Brown University. His books include "Toward an Evolutionary Biology of Language" and "Eve Spoke: Human Language and Human Evolution."
 
Published January 1, 1998 by W. W. Norton & Company. 210 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Drawing broadly from fields as diverse as anthropology, neuroscience and linguistics, Lieberman (Uniquely Human) attempts ""to show that our ability to talk is one of the keys to understanding the evolutionary process that made us human"" and that the anatomical changes that permitted our ancesto...

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