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 : 26. 93 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.

Why Only Us

Author : Robert C. Berwick
ISBN : 9780262333368
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 28. 86 MB
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"A loosely connected collection of four essays that will fascinate anyone interested in the extraordinary phenomenon of language." -- New York Review of BooksWe are born crying, but those cries signal the first stirring of language. Within a year or so, infants master the sound system of their language; a few years after that, they are engaging in conversations. This remarkable, species-specific ability to acquire any human language -- "the language faculty" -- raises important biological questions about language, including how it has evolved. This book by two distinguished scholars -- a computer scientist and a linguist -- addresses the enduring question of the evolution of language. Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky explain that until recently the evolutionary question could not be properly posed, because we did not have a clear idea of how to define "language" and therefore what it was that had evolved. But since the Minimalist Program, developed by Chomsky and others, we know the key ingredients of language and can put together an account of the evolution of human language and what distinguishes us from all other animals.Berwick and Chomsky discuss the biolinguistic perspective on language, which views language as a particular object of the biological world; the computational efficiency of language as a system of thought and understanding; the tension between Darwin's idea of gradual change and our contemporary understanding about evolutionary change and language; and evidence from nonhuman animals, in particular vocal learning in songbirds.

Why Only Us

Author : Robert C. Berwick
ISBN : 0262533499
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 32. 35 MB
Format : PDF
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"A loosely connected collection of four essays that will fascinate anyone interested in the extraordinary phenomenon of language." -- New York Review of Books We are born crying, but those cries signal the first stirring of language. Within a year or so, infants master the sound system of their language; a few years after that, they are engaging in conversations. This remarkable, species-specific ability to acquire any human language -- "the language faculty" -- raises important biological questions about language, including how it has evolved. This book by two distinguished scholars -- a computer scientist and a linguist -- addresses the enduring question of the evolution of language. Robert Berwick and Noam Chomsky explain that until recently the evolutionary question could not be properly posed, because we did not have a clear idea of how to define "language" and therefore what it was that had evolved. But since the Minimalist Program, developed by Chomsky and others, we know the key ingredients of language and can put together an account of the evolution of human language and what distinguishes us from all other animals. Berwick and Chomsky discuss the biolinguistic perspective on language, which views language as a particular object of the biological world; the computational efficiency of language as a system of thought and understanding; the tension between Darwin's idea of gradual change and our contemporary understanding about evolutionary change and language; and evidence from nonhuman animals, in particular vocal learning in songbirds.

Birdsong Speech And Language

Author : Johan J. Bolhuis
ISBN : 9780262018609
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 57. 56 MB
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Leading scholars draw on the latest research to explore what birdsong can tell us about the biology of human speech and language and the consequences for evolutionary biology.

Creating Language

Author : Morten H. Christiansen
ISBN : 9780262334785
Genre : Science
File Size : 71. 70 MB
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Language is a hallmark of the human species; the flexibility and unbounded expressivity of our linguistic abilities is unique in the biological world. In this book, Morten Christiansen and Nick Chater argue that to understand this astonishing phenomenon, we must consider how language is created: moment by moment, in the generation and understanding of individual utterances; year by year, as new language learners acquire language skills; and generation by generation, as languages change, split, and fuse through the processes of cultural evolution. Christiansen and Chater propose a revolutionary new framework for understanding the evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, offering an integrated theory of how language creation is intertwined across these multiple timescales.Christiansen and Chater argue that mainstream generative approaches to language do not provide compelling accounts of language evolution, acquisition, and processing. Their own account draws on important developments from across the language sciences, including statistical natural language processing, learnability theory, computational modeling, and psycholinguistic experiments with children and adults. Christiansen and Chater also consider some of the major implications of their theoretical approach for our understanding of how language works, offering alternative accounts of specific aspects of language, including the structure of the vocabulary, the importance of experience in language processing, and the nature of recursive linguistic structure.

More Than Nature Needs

Author : Derek Bickerton
ISBN : 9780674728530
Genre : Science
File Size : 46. 35 MB
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How did humans acquire cognitive capacities far more powerful than any hunting-and-gathering primate needed to survive? Alfred Russel Wallace, co-founder with Darwin of evolutionary theory, set humans outside normal evolution. Darwin thought use of language might have shaped our sophisticated brains, but this remained an intriguing guess--until now. Combining state-of-the-art research with forty years of writing and thinking about language origins, Derek Bickerton convincingly resolves a crucial problem that biology and the cognitive sciences have systematically avoided. Before language or advanced cognition could be born, humans had to escape the prison of the here and now in which animal thinking and communication were both trapped. Then the brain's self-organization, triggered by words, assembled mechanisms that could link not only words but the concepts those words symbolized--a process that had to be under conscious control. Those mechanisms could be used equally for thinking and for talking, but the skeletal structures they produced were suboptimal for the hearer and had to be elaborated. Starting from humankind's remotest past, More than Nature Needs transcends nativist thesis and empiricist antithesis by presenting a revolutionary synthesis that shows specifically and in a principled way how and why the synthesis came about.

Complexity And Evolution

Author : David S. Wilson
ISBN : 9780262337724
Genre : Business & Economics
File Size : 51. 43 MB
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Two widely heralded yet contested approaches to economics have emerged in recent years: one emphasizes evolutionary theory in terms of individuals and institutions; the other views economies as complex adaptive systems. In this book, leading scholars examine these two bodies of theory, exploring their possible impact on economics. Relevant concepts from evolutionary theory drawn on by the contributors include the distinction between proximate and ultimate causation, multilevel selection, cultural change as an evolutionary process, and human psychology as a product of gene-culture coevolution. Applicable ideas from complexity theory include self-organization, fractals, chaos theory, sensitive dependence, basins of attraction, and path dependence. The contributors discuss a synthesis of complexity and evolutionary approaches and the challenges that emerge. Focusing on evolutionary behavioral economics, and the evolution of institutions, they offer practical applications and point to avenues for future research.ContributorsRobert Axtell, Jenna Bednar, Eric D. Beinhocker, Adrian V. Bell, Terence C. Burnham, Julia Chelen, David Colander, Iain D. Couzin, Thomas E. Currie, Joshua M. Epstein, Daniel Fricke, Herbert Gintis, Paul W. Glimcher, John Gowdy, Thorsten Hens, Michael E. Hochberg, Alan Kirman, Robert Kurzban, Leonhard Lades, Stephen E. G. Lea, John E. Mayfield, Mariana Mazzucato, Kevin McCabe, John F. Padgett, Scott E. Page, Karthik Panchanathan, Peter J. Richerson, Peter Schuster, Georg Schwesinger, Rajiv Sethi, Enrico Spolaore, Sven Steinmo, Miriam Teschl, Peter Turchin, Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh, Sander E. van der Leeuw, Romain Wacziarg, John J. Wallis, David S. Wilson, Ulrich Witt

Tools Language And Cognition In Human Evolution

Author : Kathleen R. Gibson
ISBN : 052148541X
Genre : Computers
File Size : 68. 62 MB
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Looks at how humans have evolved complex behaviours such as language and culture.

Computational Complexity And Natural Language

Author : G. Edward Barton
ISBN : 0262524058
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 64. 37 MB
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A nontechnical introduction to complexity theory: its strengths, its weaknesses, and how it can be used to study grammars.

Language In Our Brain

Author : Angela D. Friederici
ISBN : 9780262036924
Genre : Language Arts & Disciplines
File Size : 46. 80 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.

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