The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Amazon Prime Free Trial required. Sign up when you check out. Learn More
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading The Talking Ape on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved [Paperback]

Robbins Burling

List Price: CDN$ 26.50
Price: CDN$ 16.70 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
You Save: CDN$ 9.80 (37%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Want it delivered Tuesday, September 23? Choose One-Day Shipping at checkout.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition CDN $9.99  
Hardcover CDN $25.17  
Paperback CDN $16.70  
Save Up to 90% on Textbooks
Hit the books in's Textbook Store and save up to 90% on used textbooks and 35% on new textbooks. Learn more.
Join Amazon Student in Canada

Book Description

April 15 2007 0199214034 978-0199214037 1
In this mind-opening book, Robbins Burling presents the most convincing - and the most readable - account of the origins of language yet published. He sheds new light on how language affects the way we think, behave, and relate to each other, and he gives us a deeper understanding of the nature of language itself. The author traces language back to its earliest origins among our distant ape-like forbears several million years ago. He offers a new account of the route by which we acquired our defining characteristic and explores the changing nature of language as it developed through the course of our evolution. He considers what the earliest forms of communication are likely to have been, how they worked, and why they were deployed. He examines the qualities of mind and brain needed to support the operations of language and the advantages they offered for survival and reproduction. He investigates the beginnings and prehistories of vocabulary and grammar; and connects workin fields extending from linguistics, sign languages, and psychology to palaeontology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology. And he does all this in a style that is crystal-clear, constantly enlivened by wit and humour.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

Product Description


`Review from previous edition Robbins Burling does a superb job of explaining just what language is and how it might have originated. This is one of those popular science books that just reads itself - although Burling does use a little jargon, he employs it sparingly, and with careful explanation. The text along the way is easy to follow and the arguments are absolutely fascinating... A delightful book for anyone interested in language or the development of the human mind. Popular Science' Popular Science

A great book ... one of the most approachable books on the development of human language available. Oxbow

From the Publisher


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Few topics about which scholars have puzzled can be quite so intriguing and so tantalizing, but at the same time so frustrating, as the evolution of the human capacity for language. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exquisite Conversation About Language April 4 2006
By mlund - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Simultaneously a study in evolution, language, the human psyche, and the challenges of intellectual rigor, this wonderful book is a thoughtful, thought-provoking, and even startling conversation about how we came to be the talking ape. While the book includes careful treatment (and frequent overturning) of competing theories and controversies within the discipline of linguistics, Burling moves deftly beyond them to work pragmatically at his subject for a general audience. He thinks crisply and writes enjoyably, and demonstrates fluency and fluidity handling a variety of topics in evolutionary theory. The topic overall, and this book in particular, offers much and will be a surprisingly rich exploration to the curious reader.
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book but...... July 21 2009
By J. R. Valery - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Burling's ideas about the evolution of language and his emphasis on meaning are very compelling.

A word of warning: His writing style is very dry, even by academic standards, so the book is actually very boring, though I recommend finishing it, as the ideas are good and relevant.

There is a major drawback in this book: It is unforgivable that, of all people, a linguist, misuses terminology such as "digital" and "analog" over and over again, to mean discreet and continuous. These terms come from electronics and mean, in order, "numerical" and "by analogy". Information is not digital unless it is described by numbers, unlike words; and not all analog systems and devices are continuous.

Go figure!

Look for similar items by category