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Evolutionary science has long viewed language as, basically, a fortunate accident - a crossing of wires that happened to be extraordinarily useful, setting humans apart from other animals and onto a trajectory that would see their brains (and the products of those brains) become increasingly complex. But as Michael C. Corballis shows in The Truth about Language, it's time to reconsider those assumptions. Language, he argues, is not the product of some "big bang" 60,000 years ago, but rather the result of a typically slow process of evolution with roots in elements of grammatical language found much farther back in our evolutionary history. Language, Corballis explains, evolved as a way to share thoughts - and, crucially for human development, to connect our own "mental time travel," our imagining of events and people that are not right in front of us, to that of other people.



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