Introduction by the Instructor

Singapore, December 16 2014

Welcome to an Open Access book on Language Evolution!
This initiative sprung from a semester long classroom activity in HG3040, a course offered in Linguistics and Multilingual Studies at Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The contents displayed  here were created during Semester 1 of the Academic Year 2014-2015.

The purpose of this book is twofold: first, it is meant to provide a basic-level introduction to a few selected topics in the evolution of language. For this reason it was written by students for students, with minimal supervision of the instructor.

The blog is divided into “chapters”, just like you would expect a coursebook to be. Students of HG3040 worked hard on topics that meet at the intersection of linguistics, biology, anthropology, psychology, and computer science.

The book itself is evolving! The materials you find here will be partly expanded and reworked by the next ‘generation’ of students enrolled next semester. After a few iterations, the book is expected to take a shape. All students taking part in the various iterations will be acknowledged, and all contributors so far have accepted to post this material on the Web.

This brings us to the second purpose of this initiative:  to contribute to the growing global initiative of open-access educational materials. By making accessible quality information on a given topic for free, we hope to create instructional materials that can be used by schools and universities that cannot afford to pay costly books.

While the contents of this book are not editable by anyone, you are welcome to leave comments at the bottom of each page, and we will take them into consideration. I hope you enjoy our our Open Access initiative!

Luca Onnis, Asst. Professor, Linguistics and Multilingual Studies, Nanyang Technological University.