why only us language and evolution mit press

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Why Only Us

Author : Robert C. Berwick
ISBN : 9780262034241
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 88. 91 MB
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Berwick and Chomsky draw on recent developments in linguistic theory to offer an evolutionary account of language and humans' remarkable, species-specific ability to acquire it.

How Language Began The Story Of Humanity S Greatest Invention

Author : Daniel L. Everett
ISBN : 9780871404770
Genre : Science
File Size : 84. 5 MB
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How Language Began revolutionizes our understanding of the one tool that has allowed us to become the "lords of the planet." Mankind has a distinct advantage over other terrestrial species: we talk to one another. But how did we acquire the most advanced form of communication on Earth? Daniel L. Everett, a “bombshell” linguist and “instant folk hero” (Tom Wolfe, Harper’s), provides in this sweeping history a comprehensive examination of the evolutionary story of language, from the earliest speaking attempts by hominids to the more than seven thousand languages that exist today. Although fossil hunters and linguists have brought us closer to unearthing the true origins of language, Daniel Everett’s discoveries have upended the contemporary linguistic world, reverberating far beyond academic circles. While conducting field research in the Amazonian rainforest, Everett came across an age-old language nestled amongst a tribe of hunter-gatherers. Challenging long-standing principles in the field, Everett now builds on the theory that language was not intrinsic to our species. In order to truly understand its origins, a more interdisciplinary approach is needed—one that accounts as much for our propensity for culture as it does our biological makeup. Language began, Everett theorizes, with Homo Erectus, who catalyzed words through culturally invented symbols. Early humans, as their brains grew larger, incorporated gestures and voice intonations to communicate, all of which built on each other for 60,000 generations. Tracing crucial shifts and developments across the ages, Everett breaks down every component of speech, from harnessing control of more than a hundred respiratory muscles in the larynx and diaphragm, to mastering the use of the tongue. Moving on from biology to execution, Everett explores why elements such as grammar and storytelling are not nearly as critical to language as one might suspect. In the book’s final section, Cultural Evolution of Language, Everett takes the ever-debated “language gap” to task, delving into the chasm that separates “us” from “the animals.” He approaches the subject from various disciplines, including anthropology, neuroscience, and archaeology, to reveal that it was social complexity, as well as cultural, physiological, and neurological superiority, that allowed humans—with our clawless hands, breakable bones, and soft skin—to become the apex predator. How Language Began ultimately explains what we know, what we’d like to know, and what we likely never will know about how humans went from mere communication to language. Based on nearly forty years of fieldwork, Everett debunks long-held theories by some of history’s greatest thinkers, from Plato to Chomsky. The result is an invaluable study of what makes us human.

Decoding Chomsky

Author : Chris Knight
ISBN : 9780300222159
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 33. 75 MB
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A fresh and fascinating look at the philosophies, politics, and intellectual legacy of one of the twentieth century’s most influential and controversial minds Occupying a pivotal position in postwar thought, Noam Chomsky is both the founder of modern linguistics and the world’s most prominent political dissident. Chris Knight adopts an anthropologist’s perspective on the twin output of this intellectual giant, acclaimed as much for his denunciations of US foreign policy as for his theories about language and mind. Knight explores the social and institutional context of Chomsky’s thinking, showing how the tension between military funding and his role as linchpin of the political left pressured him to establish a disconnect between science on the one hand and politics on the other, deepening a split between mind and body characteristic of Western philosophy since the Enlightenment. Provocative, fearless, and engaging, this remarkable study explains the enigma of one of the greatest intellectuals of our time.

Language Cognition And Computational Models

Author : Thierry Poibeau
ISBN : 9781108506786
Genre : Computers
File Size : 59. 66 MB
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How do infants learn a language? Why and how do languages evolve? How do we understand a sentence? This book explores these questions using recent computational models that shed new light on issues related to language and cognition. The chapters in this collection propose original analyses of specific problems and develop computational models that have been tested and evaluated on real data. Featuring contributions from a diverse group of experts, this interdisciplinary book bridges the gap between natural language processing and cognitive sciences. It is divided into three sections, focusing respectively on models of neural and cognitive processing, data driven methods, and social issues in language evolution. This book will be useful to any researcher and advanced student interested in the analysis of the links between the brain and the language faculty.

The Ries T S Gl Ssas The Ries T S Math S S

Author : Jean Piaget
ISBN : 9608392772
Genre : Language and languages
File Size : 89. 23 MB
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Language In Our Brain

Author : Angela D. Friederici
ISBN : 9780262036924
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 81. 2 MB
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Language makes us human. It is an intrinsic part of us, although we seldom think about it. Language is also an extremely complex entity with subcomponents responsible for its phonological, syntactic, and semantic aspects. In this landmark work, Angela Friederici offers a comprehensive account of these subcomponents and how they are integrated. Tracing the neurobiological basis of language across brain regions in humans and other primate species, she argues that species-specific brain differences may be at the root of the human capacity for language. Friederici shows which brain regions support the different language processes and, more important, how these brain regions are connected structurally and functionally to make language processes that take place in milliseconds possible. She finds that one particular brain structure (a white matter dorsal tract), connecting syntax-relevant brain regions, is present only in the mature human brain and only weakly present in other primate brains. Is this the "missing link" that explains humans' capacity for language? Friederici describes the basic language functions and their brain basis; the language networks connecting different language-related brain regions; the brain basis of language acquisition during early childhood and when learning a second language, proposing a neurocognitive model of the ontogeny of language; and the evolution of language and underlying neural constraints. She finds that it is the information exchange between the relevant brain regions, supported by the white matter tract, that is the crucial factor in both language development and evolution.

Origins Of Human Communication

Author : Michael Tomasello
ISBN : 9780262261203
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 41. 10 MB
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Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction. Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions. Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing required increasingly complex grammatical devices. Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research team), Tomasello argues further that humans' cooperative communication emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming. Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural learning for creating and passing along jointly understood communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along within particular cultural groups.

The Handbook Of Language Emergence

Author : Brian MacWhinney
ISBN : 9781118346099
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 81. 72 MB
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This authoritative handbook explores the latest integrated theory for understanding human language, offering the most inclusive text yet published on the rapidly evolving emergentist paradigm. Brings together an international team of contributors, including the most prominent advocates of linguistic emergentism Focuses on the ways in which the learning, processing, and structure of language emerge from a competing set of cognitive, communicative, and biological constraints Examines forces on widely divergent timescales, from instantaneous neurolinguistic processing to historical changes and language evolution Addresses key theoretical, empirical, and methodological issues, making this handbook the most rigorous examination of emergentist linguistic theory ever

Evolution In Four Dimensions Revised Edition

Author : Eva Jablonka
ISBN : 9780262525848
Genre : Science
File Size : 50. 56 MB
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A pioneering proposal for a pluralistic extension of evolutionary theory, now updated to reflect the most recent research.

Organisms And Artifacts

Author : Tim Lewens
ISBN : 0262621991
Genre : Science
File Size : 86. 38 MB
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An investigation of the analogy between evolutionaryprocesses and the processes of intelligent design used in thelanguage of modern biology.

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