The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language


by Christine Kenneally

The first popular book to recount the exciting, very recent developments in tracing the origins of language, The First Word is at the forefront of a controversial, compelling new field. Acclaimed science writer Christine Kenneally explains how a relatively small group of scientists that include Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker assembled the astounding narrative of how the fundamental process of evolution produced a linguistic ape?in other words, us. Infused with the wonder of discovery, this vital and engrossing book offers us all a better understanding of the story of humankind.

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“A clear and splendidly written account of a new field of research on a central question about the human species.”  —Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate

“A crash course on imitation, gesture, abstract thought, and speech. . . . It is eminently worthy of attention.” —Psychology Today

“Scientists who study the origins of language are a passionate, fractious bunch, and you don t have to be an egghead to be tantalized by the questions that drive their research: how and when did we learn to speak, and to what extent is language a uniquely human attribute? What [Kenneally] describes is fascinating.” —The New York Times Book Review