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LINGUIST List 20.1450

Thu Apr 16 2009

Books: General Ling: Sampson, Gil, Trudgill (Eds)

Editor for this issue: Hannah Morales <hannahlinguistlist.org>


Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
Directory
        1.    Elyse Turr, Language Complexity as an Evolving Variable: Sampson, Gil, Trudgill (Eds)

Message 1: Language Complexity as an Evolving Variable: Sampson, Gil, Trudgill (Eds)
Date: 15-Apr-2009
From: Elyse Turr <elyse.turroup.com>
Subject: Language Complexity as an Evolving Variable: Sampson, Gil, Trudgill (Eds)
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Title: Language Complexity as an Evolving Variable
Series Title: Studies in the Evolution of Language
Published: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
                http://www.oup.com/us

Editor: Geoffrey Richard Sampson
Editor: David Gil
Editor: Peter Trudgill
Hardback: ISBN: 0199545219 9780199545216 Pages: 320 Price: U.S. $ 135.00
Paperback: ISBN: 0199545227 9780199545223 Pages: 320 Price: U.S. $ 45.95
Abstract:

This book presents a challenge to the widely-held assumption that human
languages are both similar and constant in their degree of complexity. For
a hundred years or more the universal equality of languages has been a
tenet of faith among most anthropologists and linguists. It has been
frequently advanced as a corrective to the idea that some languages are at
a later stage of evolution than others. It also appears to be an inevitable
outcome of one of the central axioms of generative linguistic theory: that
the mental architecture of language is fixed and is thus identical in all
languages and that whereas genes evolve languages do not.

"Language Complexity as an Evolving Variable" reopens the debate. Geoffrey
Sampson's introductory chapter re-examines and clarifies the notion and
theoretical importance of complexity in language, linguistics, cognitive
science, and evolution. Eighteen distinguished scholars from all over the
world then look at evidence gleaned from their own research in order to
reconsider whether languages do or do not exhibit the same degrees and
kinds of complexity. They examine data from a wide range of times and
places. They consider the links between linguistic structure and social
complexity and relate their findings to the causes and processes of
language change. Their arguments are frequently controversial and
provocative; their conclusions add up to an important challenge to
conventional ideas about the nature of language.

The authors write readably and accessibly with no recourse to unnecessary
jargon. This fascinating book will appeal to all those interested in the
interrelations between human nature, culture, and language.

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
                            Philosophy of Language

Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:
http://linguistlist.org/get-book.html?BookID=39949


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