Charles N. Li

Professor Emeritus

Contact Phone

(805) 893-5841

Office Location

South Hall 3516


Evolutionary origin of language; animal communication; language and brain


During the past ten years, my research has switched from Chinese linguistics and language typology to the biological foundation of language with special focus on the multidisciplinary approach to the evolutionary origin of language involving paleoanthropology, neural science and the evolution of cognitive behavior among mammals. Related to my research I will be offering new courses in the Linguistics Department on language and brain and the biological foundation of language.


1971 Ph.D, University of California, Berkeley

Currrent Projects

  • A multidisciplinary approach to the origin of language


“The evolutionary origin of language”, in Mirror Neurons and the Evolution of Brain and Language, edited by M. Stamenov & V. Gallese, John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2002. pp.175-206.


  • Linguistics 185: Animal Communication.
  • Graduate Seminar: The Evolutionary Origin of Language.