Birdsong, Speech, and Language

Exploring the Evolution of Mind and Brain
Overview

Scholars have long been captivated by the parallels between birdsong and human speech and language. In this book, leading scholars draw on the latest research to explore what birdsong can tell us about the biology of human speech and language and the consequences for evolutionary biology. They examine the cognitive and neural similarities between birdsong learning and speech and language acquisition, considering vocal imitation, auditory learning, an early vocalization phase ("babbling"), the structural properties of birdsong and human language, and the striking similarities between the neural organization of learning and vocal production in birdsong and human speech.

After outlining the basic issues involved in the study of both language and evolution, the contributors compare birdsong and language in terms of acquisition, recursion, and core structural properties, and then examine the neurobiology of song and speech, genomic factors, and the emergence and evolution of language.

Contributors: Hermann Ackermann, Gabriël J.L. Beckers, Robert C. Berwick, Johan J. Bolhuis, Noam Chomsky, Frank Eisner, Martin Everaert, Michale S. Fee, Olga Fehér, Simon E. Fisher, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Jonathan B. Fritz, Sharon M.H. Gobes, Riny Huijbregts, Eric Jarvis, Robert Lachlan, Ann Law, Michael A. Long, Gary F. Marcus, Carolyn McGettigan, Daniel Mietchen, Richard Mooney, Sanne Moorman, Kazuo Okanoya, Christophe Pallier, Irene M. Pepperberg, Jonathan F. Prather, Franck Ramus, Eric Reuland, Constance Scharff, Sophie K. Scott, Neil Smith, Ofer Tchernichovski, Carel ten Cate, Christopher K. Thompson, Frank Wijnen, Moira Yip, Wolfram Ziegler, Willem Zuidema

Table of Contents

  1. Contents
  2. Foreword: A Bird's-Eye View of Human Language and Evolution

    Robert C. Berwick and Noam Chomsky

  3. Preface

  4. I. INTRODUCTION
  5. 1. The Design Principles of Natural Language

    Martin Everaert and Riny Huybregts

  6. 2. Evolution, Memory, and the Nature of Syntactic Representation

    Gary F. Marcus

  7. 3. Convergence and Deep Homology in the Evolution of Spoken Language

    W. Tecumseh Fitch and Daniel Mietchen

  8. 4. Evolution of Brain Pathways for Vocal Learning in Birds and Humans

    Erich D. Jarvis

  9. II. ACQUISITION OF BIRDSONG AND SPEECH
  10. 5. Behavioral Similarities between Birdsong and Spoken Language

    Sanne Moorman and Johan J. Bolhuis

  11. 6. Parametric Variation: Language and Birdsong

    Neil Smith and Ann Law

  12. 7. Vocal Culture in Songbirds: An Experimental Approach to Cultural Evolution

    Olga Fehér and Ofer Tchernichovski

  13. 8. Acquisition of Linguistic Categories: Cross-Domain Convergences

    Frank Wijnen

  14. III. PHONOLOGY AND SYNTAX
  15. 9. Structure in Human Phonology and in Birdsong: A Phonologist's Perspective

    Moira Yip

  16. 10. Recursivity of Language: What Can Birds Tell Us about It?

    Eric Reuland

  17. 11. Finite-State Song Syntax in Bengalese Finches: Sensorimotor Evidence, Developmental Processes, and Formal Procedures for Syntax Extraction

    Kazuo Okanoya

  18. 12. Analyzing the Structure of Bird Vocalizations and Language: Finding Common Ground

    Carel ten Cate, Robert Lachlan, and Willem Zuidema

  19. 13. Phonological Awareness in Grey Parrots: Creation of New Labels from Existing Vocalizations

    Irene M. Pepperberg

  20. IV. NEUROBIOLOGY OF SONG AND SPEECH
  21. 14. The Neural Basis of Links and Dissociations between Speech Perception and Production

    Sophie K. Scott, Carolyn McGettigan, and Frank Eisner

  22. 15. Neural Mechanisms of Auditory Learning and Memory in Songbirds and Mammals

    Sharon M. H. Gobes, Jonathan B. Fritz, and Johan J. Bolhuis

  23. 16. Age Effects in Language Acquisition and Attrition

    Christophe Pallier

  24. 17. A "Birdsong Perspective" on Human Speech Production

    Hermann Ackermann and Wolfram Ziegler

  25. 18. Neural Mechanisms Underlying the Generation of Birdsong: A Modular Sequential Behavior

    Michale S. Fee and Michael A. Long

  26. 19. Auditory-Vocal Mirror Neurons for Learned Vocal Communication

    Jonathan F. Prather and Richard Mooney

  27. 20. Peripheral Mechanisms of Vocalization in Birds: A Comparison with Human Speech

    Gabriël J. L. Beckers

  28. V. GENES, SONG, SPEECH, AND LANGUAGE
  29. 21. Building Bridges between Genes, Brains, and Language

    Simon E. Fisher

  30. 22. A Bird's-Eye View of FoxP2

    Constance Scharff and Christopher K. Thompson

  31. 23. Genetic Basis of Language: Insights from Developmental Dyslexia

    Franck Ramus

  32. VI. EVOLUTION OF SONG, SPEECH, AND LANGUAGE
  33. 24. Musical Protolanguage: Darwin's Theory of Language Evolution Revisited

    W. Tecumseh Fitch

  34. 25. Birdsong as a Model for Studying Factors and Mechanisms Affecting Signal Evolution

    Kazuo Okanoya

  35. 26. Evolution of Vocal Communication: An Avian Model

    Irene M. Pepperberg

  36. List of Contributors

  37. Index