LINGUIST List 16.603

Wed Mar 02 2005

Books: Ling Theories/Phonology: Ritt

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        1.    Joyce Reid, Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: Ritt

Message 1: Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: Ritt

Date: 03-May-2004
From: Joyce Reid <>
Subject: Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: Ritt

Title: Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution
Subtitle: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change
Published: 2004
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Nikolaus Ritt, Vienna University
Hardback: ISBN: 0521826713 Pages: 342 Price: U.K. £ 55.00
Hardback: ISBN: 0521826713 Pages: 344 Price: U.S. $ 85.00

This new perspective on language change looks at a number of developments
in the history of sounds and words and explains them in terms of Darwin's
evolutionary theory. Nikolaus Ritt demonstrates how the constituents of
language can be regarded as mental patterns, or "memes", which copy
themselves from one brain to another when communication and language
acquisition occur. Challenging established models of linguistic competence,
Ritt's controversial approach will stimulate debate among evolutionary
biologists, cognitive scientists and linguists.

1. Introduction
2. The historical perspective
3. Approaching 'language change'
4. The Darwinian approach
5. Generalising Darwinism
6. Towards an evolutionary theory of language;
7. What does all this imply for the study of language change?
8. How to live with feet, if one happens to be a morph-meme
9. The prosodic evolution of English word forms or the great trochaic
10. Conclusion.

Linguistic Field(s): Cognitive Science
                            Historical Linguistics
                            Linguistic Theories

Written In: English (ENG )

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