1 The Prehistory of a Very Special Ape
2 Nature, Nurture and Language
Genes and Culture
What is a Language?
Instinct and Learning
3 How Trusted Talk Started
One for All, and All for One
4 Concepts Before Language
Meaning is no Mystery
Beyond Here and Now
Going Public with Thoughts
More Abstract Thinking
5 We Began to Speak, and Hear Differently
Human and Non-human Vocal Anatomy
Questions about Hearing Speech
Other Species' Perception of Speech
Recognizing Speech and Other Noises
6 Coining Words
What did the First Words Mean?
Visible Gestures or Audible Speech?
Articulate Sounds Emerge
Groups Converge on Arbitrary Signs
Words Affect Thought
7 Building Powerful Grammar Engines
What is `Syntax'?
Did Humans Start by Singing like Birds?
Packaging Messages in Clauses and Sentences
Civilization and Grammar
8 Pronunciation Gets Complex
The Earliest Vowel and Consonant Systems
The Next Consonants and a New Vowel
People Make things Messier