Evolution of Communication: from animal signals to human speech (C8600)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module will explore the evolution of communication, progressing from the vocal signals that animals produce and the functions they serve, to then consider the differences between animal and human communication, and to evaluate theories of language evolution and discover the unique properties of human speech. In the course of this we will also examine ape language studies and gestural theories of language origins.

The teaching will combine lectures with interactive research workshop sessions and practical demonstrations in order to expose students to tools and skills that would allow them to conduct research in this area themselves. It should very much appeal to both psychologists and biologists interested in how vocal signals provide the basis for animal sexual and social behaviour, the evolution of communication, the question of whether any animal can be said to have a language, and the production and perception of human speech.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 27 hours of contact time and about 123 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2020/21. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

Courses

This module is offered on the following courses: