The Atoms of Language / Edition 1

The Atoms of Language / Edition 1

by Mark C. Baker
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0465005225

ISBN-13: 9780465005222

Pub. Date: 10/28/2002

Publisher: Basic Books


Whether all human languages are fundamentally the same or different has been a subject of debate for ages. This problem has deep philosophical implications: If languages are all the same, it implies a fundamental commonality--and thus mutual intelligibility--of human thought.We are now on the verge of solving this problem. Using a twenty-year-old theory

Overview


Whether all human languages are fundamentally the same or different has been a subject of debate for ages. This problem has deep philosophical implications: If languages are all the same, it implies a fundamental commonality--and thus mutual intelligibility--of human thought.We are now on the verge of solving this problem. Using a twenty-year-old theory proposed by the world's greatest living linguist, Noam Chomsky, researchers have found that the similarities among languages are more profound than the differences. Languages whose grammars seem completely incompatible may in fact be structurally almost identical, except for a difference in one simple rule. The discovery of these rules and how they may vary promises to yield a linguistic equivalent of the Periodic Table of the Elements: a single framework by which we can understand the fundamental structure of all human language. This is a landmark breakthrough both within linguistics, which will herewith finally become a full-fledged science, and in our understanding of the human mind.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465005222
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
292
Sales rank:
764,878
Product dimensions:
5.01(w) x 8.09(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
1 The Code Talker Paradox1
2 The Discovery of Atoms19
3 Samples Versus Recipes51
4 Baking a Polysynthetic Language85
5 Alloys and Compounds123
6 Toward a Periodic Table of Languages157
7 Why Parameters?199
Notes235
Glossary245
Map250
References253
Index263

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