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LINGUIST List 21.863

Sat Feb 20 2010

Books: Morphology/Cognitive Science: Carstairs-McCarthy

Editor for this issue: Fatemeh Abdollahi <fatemehlinguistlist.org>


Links to the websites of all LINGUIST's supporting publishers are available at the end of this issue.
Directory
        1.    Jane Hamilton, The Evolution of Morphology: Carstairs-McCarthy

Message 1: The Evolution of Morphology: Carstairs-McCarthy
Date: 19-Feb-2010
From: Jane Hamilton <jane.hamiltonoup.com>
Subject: The Evolution of Morphology: Carstairs-McCarthy
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Title: The Evolution of Morphology
Series Title: Studies in the Evolution of Language
Published: 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
                http://www.oup.com/us

Book URL: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199202683.do

Author: Andrew D. Carstairs-McCarthy
Hardback: ISBN: 0199299781 9780199299782 Pages: 272 Price: U.K. £ 65.00
Paperback: ISBN: 0199202680 9780199202683 Pages: 272 Price: U.K. £ 22.99
Abstract:

This book considers the evolution of the grammatical structure of words in
the more general contexts of human evolution and the origins of language.
The consensus in many fields is that language is well designed for its
purpose, and became so either through natural selection or by virtue of
non-biological constraints on how language must be structured. Andrew
Carstairs-McCarthy argues that in certain crucial respects language is not
optimally designed. This can be seen, he suggests, in the existence of not
one but two kinds of grammatical organization - syntax and morphology - and
in the morphological and morpho-phonological complexity which leads to
numerous departures from the one-form-one-meaning principle.

Having discussed the issue of good and bad design in a wider biological
context, the author shows that conventional explanations for the nature of
morphology do not work. Its poor design features arose, he argues, from two
characteristics present when the ancestors of modern humans had a
vocabulary but no grammar. One of these was a synonymy-avoidance
expectation, while the other was an articulatory and phonological apparatus
that encouraged the development of new synonyms. Morphology developed in
response to these conflicting pressures.

In this stimulating and carefully argued account Professor McCarthy offers
a powerful challenge to conventional views of the relationship between
syntax and morphology, to the adaptationist view of language evolution, and
to the notion that language in some way reflects 'laws of form'. This
fundamental contribution to understanding the nature and evolution of
language will be of wide interest to linguists of all theoretical
persuasions as well as to scholars in cognitive science and anthropology.

Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
                            Cognitive Science
                            Morphology

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Written In: English (eng )

See this book announcement on our website:
http://linguistlist.org/get-book.html?BookID=46246


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-------------------------- Major Supporters --------------------------
Cambridge University Press http://us.cambridge.org
Georgetown University Press http://www.press.georgetown.edu
Hodder Education http://www.hoddereducation.co.uk
John Benjamins http://www.benjamins.com/
Lincom GmbH http://www.lincom.eu
MIT Press http://mitpress.mit.edu/
Mouton de Gruyter http://www.mouton-publishers.com
Multilingual Matters http://www.multilingual-matters.com/
Narr Francke Attempto Verlag GmbH + Co. KG www.narr.de
Palgrave Macmillan http://www.palgrave.com
Rodopi http://www.rodopi.nl/
Wiley-Blackwell http://www.blackwellpublishing.com

---------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ----------------------
Cascadilla Press http://www.cascadilla.com/
International Pragmatics Assoc. http://www.ipra.be
Linguistic Association of Finland http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/sky/
SIL International http://www.ethnologue.com/bookstore.asp
St. Jerome Publishing Ltd http://www.stjerome.co.uk
Utrecht institute of Linguistics http://www-uilots.let.uu.nl/




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