Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution

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9780198270126: Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution

Already hailed as a masterpiece, Foundations of Language offers a brilliant overhaul of the last thirty-five years of research in generative linguistics and related fields. "Few books really deserve the cliché 'this should be read by every researcher in the field,'" writes Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct, "But Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language does."
Foundations of Language offers a radically new understanding of how language, the brain, and perception intermesh. The book renews the promise of early generative linguistics: that language can be a valuable entree into understanding the human mind and brain. The approach is remarkably interdisciplinary. Behind its innovations is Jackendoff's fundamental proposal that the creativity of language derives from multiple parallel generative systems linked by interface components. this shift in basic architecture makes possible a radical reconception of mental grammar and how it is learned. As a consequence, Jackendoff is able to reintegrate linguistics with philosophy of mind, cognitive and developmental psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and computational linguistics. Among the major topics treated are language processing, the relation of language to perception, the innateness of language, and the evolution of the language capacity, as well as more standard issues in linguistic theory such as the roles of syntax and the lexicon. In addition, Jackendoff offers a sophisticated theory of semantics that incorporates insights from philosophy of language, logic and formal semantics, lexical semantics of various stripes, cognitive grammar, psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic approaches, and the author's own conceptual semantics.
Here then is the most fundamental contribution to linguistic theory in over three decades.

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About the Author:


Ray Jackendoff is Professor of Linguistics at Brandeis University. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, president elect of the Linguistic Society of America, and past president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology, he is the author of Semantics and Cognition, Consciousness and the Computational Mind, and The Architecture of the Language Faculty.

Review:


"A sweeping survey of every major aspect of language and communication ... He counters the belief that language stems from syntactic structure alone."--Science News


"Few books really deserve the cliche 'this should be read by every researcher in the field,' but Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language does. I think it is the most important book in the sciences of language to have appeared in many years. Jackendoff has long had a genius for seeing both he forest and the trees, and he puts his gift to good use here in a dazzling combination of theory-building and factual integration. The result is a compelling new view of language and its place in the natural world."--Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, MIT, and author of The Language Instinct and Words and Rules


"A masterpiece.... The book as a whole deserves a wide readership."--Nature


"Jackendoff is certainly right in thinking that the question of why language has come to be as it is is one that linguists cannot permanently ignore... His breadth of knowledge and soundness of judgment, along with just the right amount of adventurousness, make for a book that deserves to be read and reread by anyone seriously interested in the state of the art of research on language."--American Scientist


"Jackendoff drastically overhauls linguistic theory...providing for a natural (re-)integration with psycholinguistics and the other sister sciences. Foundations of Language is a monumental scholarly achievement, which should be obligatory reading for any psycholinguist."--William J.M. Levelt, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics


"Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language is a masterpiece. If Ray didn't have decades of research time ahead of him, I would call it the culmination of his life's work. The book deserves to be the reference point for all future theorizing about the language faculty and its interconnections."--Frederick J. Newmeyer, Professor and Vice-President/President Elect Linguistic Society of America; Department of Linguistics, University of Washington, Seattle


"Ray Jackendoff, one of the most influential researchers in cognitive science today, offers a clear and engaging analysis of many of the raging controversies in the language sciences. The book offers a point of entry into these issues for neuroscientists, psycholinguists, and philosophers of language as well as linguists from various generative and cognative backgrounds. You may not agree with everything he says, but you are bound to appreciate the clarity, precision, depth of analysis, breadth of knowledge and impressive range of data he brings to the debate."--Adele Goldberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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Ray Jackendoff
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