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Speech Before Words

Will Abberley argues that some of the most compelling efforts to picture the evolution of language have been in science fiction and that these stories still impact on debates today.

Where did language come from? It's often been described as the fundamental barrier between humans and animals. However, many scientists now believe speech evolved gradually from animal communication. Will Abberley from the University of Oxford argues that some of the most compelling efforts to picture this evolution have been in science fiction, and that these stories still impact on debates about language today.

Recorded in front of an audience at BBC Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival of Ideas at Sage Gateshead.

All the discussions and essays from the Free Thinking festival are available as Radio 3 Arts and Ideas downloads.

Producer: Jacqueline Smith.

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15 minutes

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