The two volumes reviewed here thumb their noses at the 1866 ban by the Linguistic Society of Paris on publications concerning language origins – a ban imposed by those august guardians of public faith in linguistic science because of the disreputable, speculative, nonempirical character of language origins scholarship. Yet nose-thumbing has been on the rise in the past two decades, even alarmingly so. Why? Have we witnessed epochal new empirical or conceptual breakthroughs that would warrant the overturning of that sober 19th-century decision?
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