Sverker Johansson

Sverker Johansson is a physicist and linguist. He has conducted research at CERN in Switzerland and participated in EVOLANG, the leading international conference for research on the origins and evolution of language, since 2006.

Photo: Jonas Tetzlaff

Foto Jonas Tetzlaff.jpg

The Language Dawn


Like Yuval Harari’s Sapiens, Sverker Johansson’s Language Dawn is a dizzyingly erudite and tightly woven story about the origins of language. Packed with astonishing examples, the book is an entertaining and stimulating deep dive for anyone who has ever contemplated why we speak the way we do.

Where, when and why man began to speak is one of history’s great mysteries. Language Dawn starts out millions of years ago and progresses to the point when existing languages developed, about five thousand years ago. We are introduced to Homo Erectus and Neanderthals, to meet Darwin and Chomsky, and become acquainted with dolphins and nightingales. Based on the latest research in archaeology, neurology, linguistics and biology, Sverker Johansson guides the reader through earlier theories and proposes an account of why and how humans started talking.

Sverker Johansson

Original title:
På spaning efter språkets ursprung

June 2019


Original publisher:
Natur & Kultur

Reading material:
Swedish MS, 400 pp.
English sample
English chapter outline

Italy/Ponte alle Grazie
The Netherlands/Meulenhoff

”I demand a nomination for

this year’s August Prize!”