Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change

Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change

by Nikolaus Ritt
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0521120632

ISBN-13: 9780521120630

Pub. Date: 10/01/2009

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This new perspective on language change looks at a number of developments in the history of sounds and words and explains them in terms of Darwin's evolutionary theory. Nikolaus Ritt demonstrates how the constituents of language can be regarded as mental patterns, or "memes", which copy themselves from one brain to another when communication and language

Overview

This new perspective on language change looks at a number of developments in the history of sounds and words and explains them in terms of Darwin's evolutionary theory. Nikolaus Ritt demonstrates how the constituents of language can be regarded as mental patterns, or "memes", which copy themselves from one brain to another when communication and language acquisition occur. Challenging established models of linguistic competence, Ritt's controversial approach will stimulate debate among evolutionary biologists, cognitive scientists and linguists.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521120630
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2009
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.79(d)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The historical perspective; 3. Approaching 'language change'; 4. The Darwinian approach; 5. Generalising Darwinism; 6. Towards an evolutionary theory of language; 7. What does all this imply for the study of language change?; 8. How to live with feet, if one happens to be a morph-meme; 9. The prosodic evolution of English word forms or the great trochaic conspiracy; 10. Conclusion.

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