Part I. Setting the Stage 1. Underneath the Lampposts 2. Perspectives on Human Languages 3. Vocalization and Gesture in Monkey and Ape 4. Human Brain, Monkey Brain, and Praxis 5. Mirror Neurons and Mirror Systems Part II. Developing the Hypothesis 6. Signposts: The Argument of the Book Revealed 7. Simple and Complex Imitation 8. Via Pantomime to Protosign 9. Protosign and Protospeech: An Expanding Spiral 10. How Languages Got Started 11. How the Child Acquires Language 12. How Languages Emerge 13. How Languages Keep Changing
Michael Arbib was a pioneer in the interdisciplinary study of computers and brains, and has long studied brain mechanisms underlying the visual control of action. For more than a decade he has devoted much energy to understanding the relevance of this work, and especially of mirror neurons, to the evolution of the language-ready brain.
"...I recommend Arbib's book to serious students of language evolution.... How the Brain Got Language should be a valuable resource for scholars of language evolution." --PsycCRITIQUES "Arbib's book copiously illustrates the interdisciplinarity of research on language evolution, drawing on data from neuroscience, etholohy, linguistics, human palaeontology and prehistoric archaeology." - Kerstin Hoge, Times Literary Supplement "Arbib's book is well written and engaging. Even if one does not agree with Arbib on how the human brain got language, the book may interest the intended audience [of] educated lay readers, as well as researchers in linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, neurolinguistics, natural language processing, primatology, and anthropology." -Fredrik Heinat, Nordic Journal of Linguistics "Together with introducing is own theory of language evolution, Arbib also rightfully evaluates some contemporary views on language origin. These views differ from Arbib's theory in terms of their different foci on linguistic components, distinct modularity and forms about the proto language, and various scenarios of language origin." -Lan Shuai & Tao Gong, SciVerse ScienceDirect