The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language
By Christine Kenneally
Penguin Books, 2007. 357 pgs. Nonfiction
Not what I expected, but fascinating. I thought this book might be a summary of explorations into the origins of language through the study of historical linguistics and make some conclusions about when and where language arose and what it may have been like. Instead, this is a look at how language may have evolved by studying biology, psychology, and anthropology. There is truly a good deal of interesting information in this book--summarized from various studies over the past couple of decades. What's the relationship between language, cognition and culture? Toward the end of the book Kenneally shows some of the similarities of how language evolves and and how viruses spread and evolve. Well written and thought provoking.