Postgraduate Course: Origins and Evolution of Language (LASC11112)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||A survey of current scientific thinking on the origins and evolution of language and the human language faculty.
We will review current theories which attempt to explain how and why human language evolved, covering both the biological evolution of the human capacity for language, and cultural evolution of languages themselves. Modern evolutionary linguistics is a highly interdisciplinary field, and we will touch on the basics of evolutionary biology, animal communication and animal cognition, fieldwork on emerging sign languages, and computational models and experimental studies of language evolution pioneered here in Edinburgh, among other topics. No prior knowledge of these areas is assumed.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 27,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Essay 1 (40%)
Essay 2 (60%)
||Tutorials involve group discussions / debates of papers tackling core issues discussed in class and which are relevant to the assignments - the focus again is on critical evaluation of theory and evidence, and the discussion / debate format is intended to maximize opportunities for feedback from peers and tutors.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- speak and write informedly and responsibly about the origins of language
- critically evaluate theories of the origins and evolution of language, based on empirical evidence
|Fitch, W.T. (2010) The Evolution of Language. Cambridge University Press.|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Critically evaluating arguments on the basis of evidence.
|Keywords||language evolution,evolution,comparative psychology
|Course organiser||Prof Kenny Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 3956
|Course secretary||Ms Sasha Wood