This course is about the biological evolution of human speech. Speech, in this course, is defined as the acoustical signal used for language (although reference will be made to the role of sign language and gestures). The first part of the course will consist of an overview of our knowledge of the evolution of speech. Data from linguistics, anthropology, palaeontology and biology will be reviewed. The second part of the course will consist of an exploration of a number of computer models that have been used for investigating the evolution of speech.
The course will consist of lectures that for each of which the students will have to read two papers and answer a number of questions about these. The students are required to either write a review paper about one of the topics, or to do a modelling project. At the end all students also have to take a written exam.
Knowledge on an advanced master level of the issues, the literature and the computer models in the field of the study of the evolution of speech, as well as some background knowledge of relevant anatomy, biology, palaeantology and linguistics.