Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage SmartSaver Kitchen Kindle Black Friday Deals Week in Music SGG Tools
The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The Talking Ape: How Lang... has been added to your Cart
+ CDN$ 6.49 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by Books Squared
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ships from the USA. Please allow 14-21 business days for delivery. Only lightly used. Book has minimal wear to cover and binding. A few pages may have small creases and minimal underlining. Book Selection as BIG as Texas.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Talking Ape: How Language Evolved Paperback – Apr 15 2007

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 26.50
CDN$ 13.32 CDN$ 0.94 Books Gift Guide

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199214034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199214037
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1.8 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 381 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #643,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

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


See all Product Description

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) 3 reviews
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Language distinguishes us from all other animals and Burling does an excellent job of telling you what language is and how ... Oct. 2 2014
By David L. Carlson - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a challenging, but rewarding effort to deal with a very difficult topic, how humans came to use language. Language distinguishes us from all other animals and Burling does an excellent job of telling you what language is and how it is different from other communication systems. He systematically uses data from studies of language acquisition and studies of nonhuman animal communication systems to construct a compelling model of how language developed, probably over many millennia. His position is that each stage of proto-language must be adaptive. He argues that natural selection operated more strongly on comprehension than on production since we often understand more of another language than we can speak. Language emerged gradually, it is a wholly new communication system, not a derivative of genetically-based animal calls systems (that he refers to as gesture calls), it began with words rather than syntax, and it was driven by social interaction rather than technology. The book is not a quick or easy read, but it will repay careful reading with a much better understanding of just how important and unique language is in every human society.
10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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!