The Language Organ: Linguistics as Cognitive Physiology

The Language Organ: Linguistics as Cognitive Physiology

by Stephen R. Anderson, David W. Lightfoot, David Lightfoot
     
 

Challenging and original, The Language Organ treats human language as the manifestation of a faculty of the mind, a mental organ whose nature is determined by human biology. Its functional properties should be explored just as physiology explores the functional properties of physical organs. The authors argue that linguistics investigates cognition, taking as its… See more details below

Overview

Challenging and original, The Language Organ treats human language as the manifestation of a faculty of the mind, a mental organ whose nature is determined by human biology. Its functional properties should be explored just as physiology explores the functional properties of physical organs. The authors argue that linguistics investigates cognition, taking as its object mental representations and processes rather than externally observed grammatical patterns (which constitute evidence, but are not themselves the object of study). Such a view has untraditional consequences for the kinds of argument and analysis that can be offered in understanding the nature of language. The book surveys the nature of the language faculty in its various aspects: the systems of sounds, words, and syntax: the development of language in the child and historically; and what is known about its relation to the brain. It discusses the kinds of work that can be carried out in these areas that will contribute to an understanding of the human language organ. The book will appeal to students and researchers in linguistics, and is written to be accessible to colleagues in other disciplines dealing with language as well as to readers with an interest in general science and the nature of the human mind.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521007832
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
08/28/2013
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.63(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
1Studying the human language faculty1
2Language as a mental organ18
3Syntax41
4Sound patterns in language67
5Describing linguistic knowledge92
6Phonetics and the I-linguistics of speech111
7Morphology131
8Language change157
9"Growing" a language186
10The organic basis of language216
References244
Index257

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