The Boundaries of Babel: The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages

The Boundaries of Babel: The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages

by Andrea Moro
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0262134985

ISBN-13: 9780262134989

Pub. Date: 06/30/2008

Publisher: MIT Press

In The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro describes an encounter between two cultures: contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences. As a leading theoretical linguist in the generative tradition and also a neuroscientist, Moro is uniquely equipped to tell this story.

Moro examines what he calls the "hidden" revolution in

Overview

In The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro describes an encounter between two cultures: contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences. As a leading theoretical linguist in the generative tradition and also a neuroscientist, Moro is uniquely equipped to tell this story.

Moro examines what he calls the "hidden" revolution in contemporary science: the discovery that the number of possible grammars is not infinite and that their number is biologically limited. This will require us to rethink not just the fundamentals of linguistics and neurosciences but also our view of the human mind. Moro searches for neurobiological correlates of "the boundaries of Babel" -- the constraints on the apparent chaotic variation in human languages -- by using an original experimental design based on artificial languages exploiting neuroimaging techniques.

This second edition includes a new chapter in which Moro extends the exploration of the boundaries of
Babel in search of the source of order with which all human languages are endowed.
Reflecting on the emerging methodology that obtains physiological data from awake brain surgery, Moro shifts from considering where the neurophysiological processes underlying linguistic competence take place -- that is, where
neurons are activated -- to considering the neuronal code involved in these processes -- that is, what neurons communicate to each other.
This edition also features a substantive new foreword by Noam Chomsky synthesizing the major issues theoretical syntax will face in the near future.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262134989
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
06/30/2008
Series:
Current Studies in Linguistics, #46
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Exploring the Boundaries of Babel Noam Chomsky xi

Translators' Note for the First Edition xxv

1491: Preface to the Second Edition xxvii

Preface to the First Edition xxxi

Acknowledgments xxxiii

Prologue xxxv

1 The Hidden Texture 1

2 Language in the Brain 111

3 The Form of Grammar 177

4 Toward the Source of Order 215

Epilogue 255

References 257

Name Index 275

Subject Index 281

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