The Origin of Language [Book Review]

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REVIEW OF: The Symbolic Species - The co-evolution of language and the human brain, by Terrence Deacon, Penguin, 527pp, 1997. Terrence Deacon works at the interface between neurobiology, developmental biology and biological anthropology. He is ideally placed to bring together the insights of the very different sciences of palaeontology and physiology into the nature and origins of language. The pleasures of his book are in the detail, the expert knowledge that the author brings to bear, the lucidity of writing that must at times be quite technical. The reviewer sees a main inadequacy of the book in its cavalier treatment of language itself, and especially of what the author calls "Chomsky's Handstand".
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