By: Sherman P. Bastarache
Publication Date: April 2012
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 16, 2012
Evolution is a concept that is debated in all different ‘worlds’ - from the scientific community to the religious community. This book, however, takes an in-depth look at the evolution of language, and how the most simplistic noises (grunts, calls, cries, etc.) are actually the basis of how we communicate our most complex words and concepts.
In the very early stages of this author’s life, a brief moment in school set his mind on a path to answer the question of whether or not language can (and did) evolve. Struggling through his early days, he did his best to finish high school in a jobless, moneyless world and, thankfully for readers, exploring the subject of the evolution of language never left his mind.
Many interesting facts and discoveries are involved in this book as the author lays out the actual evolution of the power of speech. Beginning at the ‘beginning,’ Adam and Eve’s communication is spoken about (i.e., was language created for them or, devil’s advocate, was it simply a learning process such as humans still go through today?). Is language an innate gift, or is this something we actually do have to learn? Are we ‘hardwired’ for basic concepts and tasks, or is a simple grunt the basis for communication?
Everything from the Baldwin Effect to phonetics to the subject of animals and how they communicate with us using various types of barks or growls in order to get their point across, is covered. Chapters looking into the root of a word, as well as how words and language differ from country to country are given. And from offering information on the biological aspects of communication to computer technology, no stone is left unturned.
Readers will truly see that this author offers a very investigative look at the evolution of language that explores, identifies and answers the question of how a variety of sounds can be strung together in order to produce complex words and actions. A unique text, this look into language stimulates the brain and will have many in the linguistics community listening and understanding what this author has to say.
Quill Says: An extremely thought-provoking exposition that will open even more lines of communication.