University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Origins and Evolution of Language (LASC11112)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryA survey of the main issues in the evolution and origins of the human language faculty and of actual human languages.
Course description The course sets out a basis of relevant facts accumulated from a range of disciplines within and outwith Linguistics, including animal behaviour, evolutionary theory, computer modelling, genetics, language acquisition, paleontology, archaeology.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 27, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 3000 word assignment

Assignment Deadline: Thursday 3rd December 2015, 12 noon
Maximum word limit: 3000 words
Assignment Return Date: 15th January 2016
Feedback Tutorials: they involve ensuring the concepts explained in the lectures are well understood. The last lecture will explain what is expected from the essays and essay answers (structure and content wise).

Comments provided on submitted assessments
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. speak and write informedly and responsibly about the origins of language
  2. know how to keep track of fresh developments in the field, and be able to put such developments in perspective
Reading List
Croft, W. (2013) Evolution: Language use and the evolution of languages. In K. Smith and P. Binder (eds.) The Language Phenomenon. Springer.

De Boer, B. (2000). Self organization in vowel systems. Journal of Phonetics, 28, 441-465.

Dediu, D. & Levinson, S. (2014). The time frame of the emergence of modern language end its implications. In D. Dor, C. Knight & J. Lewis (eds.) The social origins of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 184-195.

Dor, D. (2014) The instruction of imagination: language and its evolution as a communication technology. In In D. Dor, C. Knight & J. Lewis (eds.) The social origins of language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 105-128.

Fitch, W.T. (2010) The Evolution of Language. Cambridge University Press (main source of readings; we will read chapters 1,2,4,7,8,9,12,13,14)

Haiman, J. (1994). Ritualization and the Development of Language. In W. Pagliuca, (Ed.) Perspectives on Grammaticalization (pp. 1-28). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Heine, B., and Kuteva, T. (2002). On the Evolution of Grammatical Forms, Chapter 18 of A. Wray (Ed.), The Transition to Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hurford, J.R. (2014). Origins of Language: A Slim Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (Chapters 1, 2 and 4.)

Jackendoff, R. (2002). Foundations of language: Brain, meaning, grammar, evolution. Oxford: OUP.

McMahon, A. & McMahon, R. (2013). Evolutionary Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Chatpers 1 and 9.)

Tennie, C., Call, J. & Tomasello, M. (2009). Ratcheting up the ratchet: on the evolution of cumulative culture. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society B. 364, 2405-2415. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2009.0052.

Tomasello, M., & Carpenter, M. (2007). Shared intentionality. Developmental Science, 10, 121-125.

Wynne, C. D. L. (2001). Animal Cognition: the mental lives of animals. Houndmills: Palgrave.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures as scheduled and one weekly tutorial.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kenneth Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 3956
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information
© Copyright 2015 The University of Edinburgh - 18 January 2016 4:15 am