The codirector of the MIT Center for Cognitive Science explains how language works, how it differs from thought, why adults have difficulty learning foreign languages, and why computers cannot learn human language
Linguistics For Beginners is the first book to ever make the arcane labors of linguistics accessible to general readers. It begins with a lucid definition of language and proceeds to examine how it becomes the subject matter of linguistics. Key topics include the contrast between writing and speech, and elementary lessons in analyses ranging from simple sounds to entire sentences. Absurd fictions such as Eskimos having hundreds of words for snow are exploded, and the borderlands between linguistics and philosophy are investigated.
Linguistics For Beginners teaches concise lessons using wit and whimsy making for a memorable learning experience. The reader will learn about language acquisition, ancient languages, little-known languages, tonal and whistle languages, linguistic engineering, structuralism, language origins, the anthropological approach to linguistics, kinship semantics, color lexicons, geographical linguistics, and much more Linguistics For Beginners is the key tool for linguistic students of any level.
One measure of Roman Jakobson's towering role in linguistics is that his work has defined the field itself. Jakobson's contributions have now become a permanent part of American and European views on language. With his uncanny ability to survive devastating uprooting again and again--from Moscow to Prague to Upsalla to New York and finally to Cambridge--Jakobson was able to bring to each milieu new and stimulating ideas, which have broadened the perspective of linguistics while giving it new direction and specifying its domain. Linda Waugh and Monique Monville-Burston have assembled an intellectual overview of his work in linguistics from partial and complete works that they have arranged, introduced, and cross-referenced. Some appear here in print for the first time, others are newly translated into English. More than a convenient access to Jakobson's basic works, On Language presents a broad profile of the polymathic general linguist who suggested radical innovations in every area of linguistic theory. The breadth of Jakobson's engagement in linguistics is captured by the editors' informative introduction and by their perspicacious presentation of topics. His general view of the science of linguistics is followed by his stunning contributions to linguistic metatheory in the areas of structure and function. Various aspects of historical, typological, and sociolinguistics are also explored along with his phonological theory--perhaps his most influential contribution--and his views on grammatical semantics. A topic that increasingly preoccupied Jakobson in his later career, the interrelationship between sound and meaning, is presented here in detail. The concluding three essaysfocus on the various relations between linguistics and the human and natural sciences, which led Jakobson ultimately to be characterized as an interdisciplinary thinker.
Who other than MIT scientist Steven Pinker could explore a single linguistic phenomenon - the use of irregular verbs - from the vantage points of psychology, biology, history, philosophy, linguistics, and child development?In Words and Rules, Pinker answers questions about the miraculous human ability called language and does it in the gripping, witty style of his other bestsellers. As the stories unfold, the reader is immersed in the evolution of the English language over the centuries, the theories of Noam Chomsky and his critics, the simulation of neural networks on computers, the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak, the tragic loss of language from neurological disease, and more illustrations using humorous wordplay than anyone would have thought possible. Pinker makes sense of all these phenomena with the help of a single powerful idea: that the essence of language is a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules.Pinker is well known for his skills of explaining the art and science of language. His bestselling book How the Mind Works was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and was the #1 bestselling book for amazon.com in 1997. His other bestseller The Language Instinct was named one of the Ten Best Books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review and nominated for the William James Book Award by the American Psychological Association.
The Five-Minute Linguist: Bite-sized Essays on Language and Languages takes a new approach to making accurate and up-to-date knowledge about language accessible in a non-academic way. It consists of some 55-60 chapters, each about 700 words long, adapted from the weekly scripts of a popular NPR series on language. The scripts, contributed by a cross-section of leading professional linguists in America and abroad, address questions like How many languages are there in the world? Should we teach languages in elementary school? and How good is machine translation? They are written with a light touch that has been highly successful in reaching an audience of intelligent non-specialists. The book will preserve that light touch while adding such features as an index (to help readers connect topics touched on in more than one chapter) and suggestions for follow-up reading.
This book presents the latest research on understanding language teacher identity and development for both novice and experienced researchers and educators, and introduces non-experts in language teacher education to key topics in teacher identity research. It covers a wide range of backgrounds, themes, and subjects pertaining to language teacher identity and development. Some of these include
- the effects of apprenticeship in doctoral training on novice teacher identity;
- the impacts of mid-career redundancy on the professional identities of teachers;
- challenges faced by teachers in the construction of their professional identities;
- the emerging professional identity of pre-service teachers;
- teacher identity development of beginning teachers;
- the role of emotions in the professional identities of non-native English speaking teachers;
- the negotiation of professional identities by female academics.
Advances and Current Trends in Language Teacher Identity Research will appeal to academics in ELT/TESOL/applied linguistics. It will also be useful to those who are non-experts in language teacher education, yet still need to know about theories and recent advances in the area due to varying reasons including their affiliation to a teacher training institute; needs to participate in projects on language teacher education; and teaching a course for pre-service and in-service language teachers.
1. Structuralist Versus Analogical Descriptions ONE important purpose of this book is to compare two completely dif- ferent approaches to describing language. The first of these approaches, commonly called stnlctllralist, is the traditional method for describing behavior. Its methods are found in many diverse fields - from biological taxonomy to literary criticism. A structuralist description can be broadly characterized as a system of classification. The fundamental question that a structuralist description attempts to answer is how a general contextual space should be partitioned. For each context in the partition, a rule is defined. The rule either specifies the behavior of that context or (as in a taxonomy) assigns a name to that context. Structuralists have implicitly assumed that descriptions of behavior should not only be correct, but should also minimize the number of rules and permit only the simplest possible contextual specifications. It turns out that these intuitive notions can actually be derived from more fundamental statements about the uncertainty of rule systems. Traditionally, linguistic analyses have been based on the idea that a language is a system of rules. Saussure, of course, is well known as an early proponent of linguistic structuralism, as exemplified by his characterization of language as "a self-contained whole and principle of classification" (Saussure 1966:9). Yet linguistic structuralism did not originate with Saussure - nor did it end with "American structuralism".