Now You're Talking

Human Conversation from the Neanderthals to Artificial Intelligence

by Trevor Cox

‘A lively, intelligent and persuasive history of speech...Expertly and patiently explained’ The Times

Why are human beings the only animals that can speak? And why does it matter?

If you’ve ever felt the shock of listening to a recording of your own voice, you realise how important your voice is to your personal identity. We judge others – and whether we trust them – not just by their words but by the way they talk: their intonation, their pitch, their accent.

Now You’re Talking explores the full range of our voice – how we speak and how we sing; how our vocal anatomy works; what happens when things go wrong; and how technology enables us to imitate and manipulate the human voice.

Trevor Cox talks to vocal coaches who help people to develop their new voice after a gender transition; to record producers whose use of technology has transformed the singing voice; and to computer scientists who replicate the human voice in their development of artificial intelligence.

Beginning with the Neanderthals, Now You’re Talking takes us all the way to the digital age – with the frightening prospect that we may soon hear ‘Unexpected item in the bagging area’ more frequently than a friendly ‘Hello, how are you?’ in the street.

  • Random House; May 2018
  • ISBN: 9781473547223
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Now You're Talking
  • Author: Trevor Cox
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital

In The Press

"Fascinating... Illuminating… The book draws on the latest scientific research and is studded with arresting statistics... [Cox] wears his learning lightly... A rewarding read... Cox knows how to make his subject sing. And the narrative is enlivened by colourful anecdotes."

About The Author

Trevor Cox is Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford. He has presented numerous science radio documentaries and his previous book, Sonic Wonderland: A Scientific Odyssey of Sound, was published to great acclaim in 2014.