Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution

ISBN : 9780199264377

Ray Jackendoff
504 Pages
169 x 242 mm
Pub date
Sep 2003
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How does human language work? How do we put ideas into words that others can understand? Can linguistics shed light on the way the brain operates? Foundations of Language puts linguistics back at the centre of the search to understand human consciousness. Ray Jackendoff begins by surveying the developments in linguistics over the years since Noam Chomsky's Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. He goes on to propose a radical re-conception of how the brain processes language. This opens up vivid new perspectives on every major aspect of language and communication, including grammar, vocabulary, learning, the origins of human language, and how language relates to the real world. Foundations of Language makes important connections with other disciplines which have been isolated from linguistics for many years. It sets a new agenda for close cooperation between the study of language, mind, the brain, behaviour, and evolution.


Part I: Psychological and Biological Foundations
1 The Complexity of Linguistic Structure
2 Language as a Mental Phenomenon
3 Combinatoriality
4 Universal Grammar

Part II: Architectural Foundations
5 The Parallel Architecture
6 Lexical Storage Versus Online Construction
7 Implications for Processing
8 An Evolutionary Perspective on the Architecture

Part III: Semantic and Conceptual Foundations
9 Semantics as a Mentalistic Enterprise
10 Reference and Truth
11 Lexical Semantics
12 Phrasal Semantics
13 Concluding Remarks

About the author: 

Ray Jackendoff is the author of Semantics and Cognition, Consciousness and the Computational Mind, The Architecture of the Language Faculty, and (with Fred Lerdahl) A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. He has been Professor of Linguistics at Brandeis University since 1971. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a past president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology.

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