Impossible Languages

  • Filename: impossible-languages.
  • ISBN: 9780262034890
  • Release Date: 2016-09-02
  • Number of pages: 160
  • Author: Andrea Moro
  • Publisher: MIT Press



An investigation into the possibility of impossible languages, searching for the indelible "fingerprint" of human language.

The Boundaries of Babel

  • Filename: the-boundaries-of-babel.
  • ISBN: 9780262296984
  • Release Date: 2010-08-13
  • Number of pages: 280
  • Author: Andrea Moro
  • Publisher: MIT Press



In The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro tells the story of an encounter between two cultures: contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences. The study of language within a biological context has been ongoing for more than fifty years. The development of neuroimaging technology offers new opportunities to enrich the "biolinguistic perspective" and extend it beyond an abstract framework for inquiry. As a leading theoretical linguist in the generative tradition and also a cognitive scientist schooled in the new imaging technology, Moro is uniquely equipped to explore this.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 radical but little-discussed change in the way we look at language, he claims, 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. He offers a critical overview of some of the fundamental results from linguistics over the last fifty years, in particular regarding syntax, then uses these essential aspects of language to examine two neuroimaging experiments in which he took part. He describes the two neuroimaging techniques used (positron emission topography, or PET, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI), but makes it clear that techniques and machines do not provide interesting data without a sound theoretical framework. Finally, he discusses some speculative aspects of modern research in biolinguistics regarding the impact of the linear structure of linguistics expression on grammar, and more generally, some core aspects of language acquisition, genetics, and evolution.

Impossible Languages

  • Filename: impossible-languages.
  • ISBN: 9780262034890
  • Release Date: 2016-09-02
  • Number of pages: 160
  • Author: Andrea Moro
  • Publisher: MIT Press



An investigation into the possibility of impossible languages, searching for the indelible "fingerprint" of human language.

The Boundaries of Babel

  • Filename: the-boundaries-of-babel.
  • ISBN: 9780262029858
  • Release Date: 2015-11-13
  • Number of pages: 328
  • Author: Andrea Moro
  • Publisher: MIT Press



The new edition of a pioneering book that examines research at the intersection of contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences.

Impossible Histories

  • Filename: impossible-histories.
  • ISBN: 0262042169
  • Release Date: 2003
  • Number of pages: 605
  • Author: Dubravka Djurić
  • Publisher: MIT Press



The first critical survey of the largely unknown avant-garde movements of the former Yugoslavia.

Impossible Persons

  • Filename: impossible-persons.
  • ISBN: 0262529297
  • Release Date: 2016-08-15
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Author: Daniel Harbour
  • Publisher: Mit Press



Impossible Persons, Daniel Harbour's comprehensive and groundbreaking formal theory of grammatical person, upends understanding of a universal and ubiquitous grammatical category. Breaking with much past work, Harbour establishes three core theses, one empirical, one theoretical, and one metatheoretical. Together, these redefine the data subsumed under the rubric of "person," simplify the feature inventory that a theory of person must posit, and restructure the metatheory in which feature theory as a whole resides. At its heart, Impossible Persons poses a simple question of the possible versus the actual: in how many ways could languages configure their person systems, in how many do they configure them, and what explains the size and shape of the shortfall? Harbour's empirical thesis -- that the primary object of study for persons are partitions, not syncretisms -- transforms a sea of data into a categorical problem of the attested and the absent. Positing, innovatively, that features denote actions, not predicates, he shows that two features alone generate all and only the attested systems. This apparently poor inventory yields rich explanatory dividends, covering the morphological composition of person, its interaction with number, its connection to space, and properties of its semantics and linearization. Moreover, the core properties of this approach are shared with Harbour's earlier work on number features. Jointly, these results establish an important metatheoretical corollary concerning the balance between richness of feature semantics and restrictiveness of feature inventories. This corollary holds deep implications for how linguists should approach feature theory in future.

Empiricism and Language Learnability

  • Filename: empiricism-and-language-learnability.
  • ISBN: 9780198734260
  • Release Date: 2015-07-09
  • Number of pages: 272
  • Author: Nick Chater
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA



This interdisciplinary new work explores one of the central theoretical problems in linguistics: learnability. The authors, from different backgrounds---linguistics, philosophy, computer science, psychology and cognitive science-explore the idea that language acquisition proceeds through general purpose learning mechanisms, an approach that is broadly empiricist both methodologically and psychologically. Written by four researchers in the full range ofrelevant fields: linguistics (John Goldsmith), psychology (Nick Chater), computer science (Alex Clark), and cognitive science (Amy Perfors), the book sheds light on the central problems of learnabilityand language, and traces their implications for key questions of theoretical linguistics and the study of language acquisition.

Language in Cognition

  • Filename: language-in-cognition.
  • ISBN: 1444310054
  • Release Date: 2010-04-29
  • Number of pages: 264
  • Author: Cedric Boeckx
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons



This textbook explores the ways in which language informs the structure and function of the human mind, offering a point of entry into the fascinating territory of cognitive science. Focusing mainly on syntactic issues, Language in Cognition is a unique contribution to this burgeoning field of study. Guides undergraduate students through the core questions of linguistics and cognitive science, and provides tools that will help them think about the field in a structured way Uses the study of language and how language informs the structure and function of the human mind to introduce the major ideas in modern cognitive science, including its history and controversies Explores questions such as: what does it mean to say that linguistics is part of the cognitive sciences; how do the core properties of language compare with the core properties of other human cognitive abilities such as vision, music, mathematics, and other mental building blocks; and what is the relationship between language and thought? Includes an indispensable study guide as well as extensive references to encourage further independent study

Measuring Grammatical Complexity

  • Filename: measuring-grammatical-complexity.
  • ISBN: 9780199685301
  • Release Date: 2014
  • Number of pages: 370
  • Author: Frederick J. Newmeyer
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA



This book examines the question of whether languages can differ in grammatical complexity and, if so, how relative complexity differences might be measured. The volume differs from others devoted to the question of complexity in language in that the authors all approach the problem from the point of view of formal grammatical theory, psycholinguistics, or neurolinguistics. Chapters investigate a number of key issues in grammatical complexity, taking phonological, morphological, syntactic, and semantic considerations into account. These include what is often called the 'trade-off problem', namely whether complexity in one grammatical component is necessarily balanced by simplicity in another; and the question of interpretive complexity, that is, whether and how one might measure the difficulty for the hearer in assigning meaning to an utterance and how such complexity might be factored in to an overall complexity assessment. Measuring Grammatical Complexity brings together a number of distinguished scholars in the field, and will be of interest to linguists of all theoretical stripes from advanced undergraduate level upwards, particularly those working in the areas of morphosyntax, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and cognitive linguistics.

Formal Linguistics and the Teaching of Latin

  • Filename: formal-linguistics-and-the-teaching-of-latin.
  • ISBN: 9781443831062
  • Release Date: 2011-05-25
  • Number of pages: 465
  • Author: Renato Oniga
  • Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing



This volume offers a coherent collection of 26 papers presented at an international conference held in November 2010, exploring the latest achievements of formal and comparative linguistics applied to the teaching of Latin. The three sections (syntax and morphology, semantics and pragmatics, history and theory of teaching) compare Latin with different ancient and modern languages, aiming to represent grammar rules as the product of mental processes. The book is addressed to linguists, teachers and students, who are looking for new perspectives to update their approach to classical Latin.

The Equilibrium of Human Syntax

  • Filename: the-equilibrium-of-human-syntax.
  • ISBN: 9781136183850
  • Release Date: 2013-09-13
  • Number of pages: 488
  • Author: Andrea Moro
  • Publisher: Routledge



This book assembles a collection of papers in two different domains: formal syntax and neurolinguistics. Here Moro provides evidence that the two fields are becoming more and more interconnected and that the new fascinating empirical questions and results in the latter field cannot be obtained without the theoretical base provided by the former. The book is organized in two parts: Part 1 focuses on theoretical and empirical issues in a comparative perspective (including the nature of syntactic movement, the theory of locality and a far reaching and influential theory of copular sentences). Part 2 provides the original sources of some innovative and pioneering experiments based on neuroimaging techniques (focusing on the biological nature of recursion and the interpretation of negative sentences). Moro concludes with an assessment of the impact of these perspectives on the theory of the evolution of language. The leading and pervasive idea unifying all the arguments developed here is the role of symmetry (breaking) in syntax and in the relationship between language and the human brain.

The Limits of Syntactic Variation

  • Filename: the-limits-of-syntactic-variation.
  • ISBN: 9789027255150
  • Release Date: 2008
  • Number of pages: 521
  • Author: Theresa Biberauer
  • Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing



Against the background of the past half century s typological and generative work on comparative syntax, this volume brings together 16 papers considering what we have learned and may still be able to learn about the nature and extent of syntactic variation. More specifically, it offers a multi-perspective critique of the Principles and Parameters approach to syntactic variation, evaluating the merits and shortcomings of the pre-Minimalist phase of this enterprise and considering and illustrating the possibilities opened up by recent empirical and theoretical advances. Contributions focus on four central topics: firstly, the question of the locus of variation, whether the attested variation may plausibly be understood in parametric terms and, if so, what form such parameters might take; secondly, the fate of one of the most prominent early parameters, the Null Subject Parameter; thirdly, the matter of parametric clusters more generally; and finally, acquisition issues.

The Evolution of Language

  • Filename: the-evolution-of-language.
  • ISBN: 9789814603645
  • Release Date: 2014-03-21
  • Number of pages: 592
  • Author: Erica A Cartmill
  • Publisher: World Scientific



This volume comprises refereed papers and abstracts of the 10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language (EVOLANGX), held in Vienna on 14–17th April 2014. As the leading international conference in the field, the biennial EVOLANG meeting is characterised by an invigorating, multidisciplinary approach to the origins and evolution of human language, and brings together researchers from many subject areas, including anthropology, archaeology, biology, cognitive science, computer science, genetics, linguistics, neuroscience, palaeontology, primatology and psychology. For this 10th conference, the proceedings will include a special perspectives section featuring prominent researchers reflecting on the history of the conference and its impact on the field of language evolution since the inaugural EVOLANG conference in 1996. Contents:Diachronic Processes in Language as Signaling Under Conflicting Interests (Christopher Ahern and Robin Clark)Syntactic Development in Phenotypic Space (Lluís Barceló-Coblijn and Antoni Gomila Benejam)Linguistic Animals: Understanding Language Through a Comparative Approach (Piera Filippi)Social Interaction Influences the Evolution of Cognitive Biases for Language (Seán G Roberts, Bill Thompson and Kenny Smith)Symbol Extension and Meaning Generation in Cultural Evolution for Displaced Communication (Kaori Tamura and Takashi Hashimoto)The Origins of Combinatorial Communication (Richard A Blythe and Thomas C Scott-Phillips)Social Origins of Rhythm? Synchrony and Temporal Regularity in Human Vocalization (Daniel L Bowling, Christian T Herbst and W Tecumseh Fitch)The Effect of Pitch Enhancement on Spoken Language Acquisition (Piera Filippi, Bruno Gingras and W Tecumseh Fitch)Bow-and-Arrow Technology: Mapping Human Cognition and Perhaps Language Evolution (Alexandra Regina Kratschmer, Miriam Noël Haidle and Marlize Lombard)The Cognitive Underspinnings of Metaphor as the Driving Force of Language Evolution (Andrew D M Smith and Stefan H Höfler)Model Fitting and Prediction for Language Evolution (Bill Thompson and Vanessa Ferdinand)and other papers Readership: Graduate students, academics and researchers working on the evolution of language, artificial intelligence, genetics and psychology. Key Features:Keywords:Evolution;Language;Evolang;Origin;Protolanguage

Mind Brain and Language

  • Filename: mind-brain-and-language.
  • ISBN: 9781135667405
  • Release Date: 2003-10-17
  • Number of pages: 416
  • Author: Marie T. Banich
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis



Much of the groundbreaking work in many fields is now occurring at the intersection of traditional academic disciplines. This development is well demonstrated in this important and unique volume, which offers a multidisciplinary view of current findings and cutting-edge issues involving the relationship between mind, brain, and language. Marie T. Banich and Molly Mack have edited a collection of 11 invited chapters from top researchers (and have contributed two of their own chapters) to create a volume organized around five major topics--language emergence, influence, and development; models of language and language processing; the neurological bases of language; language disruption and loss; and dual-language systems. Topics range from the evolution of language and child-language acquisition to brain imaging and the "bilingual brain." To maintain continuity throughout, care has been taken to ensure that the chapters have been written in a style accessible to scholars across many disciplines, from anthropology and psycholinguistics to cognitive science and neurobiology. Because of its depth and breadth, this book is appropriate both as a textbook in a variety of undergraduate and graduate-level courses and as a valuable resource for researchers and scholars interested in further understanding the background of and current developments in our understanding of the mind/brain/language relationship.

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