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The Evolutionary Emergence of LanguageEvidence and Inference$
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Rudolf Botha and Martin Everaert

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654840.001.0001

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Introduction: evidence and inference in the study of language evolution

Introduction: evidence and inference in the study of language evolution

(p.1) 1 Introduction: evidence and inference in the study of language evolution
The Evolutionary Emergence of Language

Rudolf Botha

Martin Everaert

Oxford University Press

The chapters of this volume are instructive in two general ways. First, they offer a range of new perspectives on the evolution of language and speech, and thus extend our understanding of what this phenomenon may have involved. Second — and distinctive to the volume — they provide concrete examples of how one of the most challenging problems posed by the evolution of language and speech has been addressed in recent work. This is the problem of the lack of direct evidence about the entities, events, processes, pressures, and other phenomena that had a part in the evolution of language and speech. If work on language evolution is to be done in an empirical mode, the only way to overcome the lack of direct evidence is to draw inferences about language evolution from the properties of phenomena about which there is direct evidence. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.

Keywords:   language evolution, speech, direct evidence, entities

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