LINGUIST List 23.5003|
Fri Nov 30 2012
Books: A History of Psycholinguistics: Levelt
Editor for this issue: Danniella Hornby
From: Zach Borenstein <zach.borensteinoup.com>
Subject: A History of Psycholinguistics: Levelt
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Title: A History of Psycholinguistics
Subtitle: The Pre-Chomskyan Era
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Book URL: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199653669.do#.ULek-I7P85o
Author: Willem J.M. Levelt
Hardback: ISBN: 9780199653669 Pages: 648 Price: U.S. $ 115
How do we manage to speak and understand language? How do children acquire
these skills and how does the brain support them?These psycholinguistic issues
have been studied for more than two centuries.
Though many Psycholinguists tend to consider their history as beginning with
the Chomskyan "cognitive revolution" of the late 1950s/1960s, the history of
empirical psycholinguistics actually goes back to the end of the 18th century.
This is the first book to comprehensively treat this "pre-Chomskyan" history.
It tells the fascinating history of the doctors, pedagogues, linguists and
psychologists who created this discipline, looking at how they made their
important discoveries about the language regions in the brain, about the
high-speed accessing of words in speaking and listening, on the child's
invention of syntax, on the disruption of language in aphasic patients and so
much more. The book is both a history of ideas as well of the men and women
whose intelligence, brilliant insights, fads, fallacies, cooperations, and
rivalries created this discipline.
Psycholinguistics has four historical roots, which, by the end of the 19th
century, had merged. By then, the discipline, usually called the psychology of
language, was established. The first root was comparative linguistics, which
raised the issue of the psychological origins of language. The second root was
the study of language in the brain, with Franz Gall as the pioneer and the
Broca and Wernicke discoveries as major landmarks. The third root was the
diary approach to child development, which emerged from Rousseau's Emile. The
fourth root was the experimental laboratory approach to speech and language
processing, which originated from Franciscus Donders' mental chronometry.
Wilhelm Wundt unified these four approaches in his monumental Die Sprache of
1900. These four perspectives of psycholinguistics continued into the 20th
century but in quite divergent frameworks. There was German consciousness and
thought psychology, Swiss/French and Prague/Viennese structuralism, Russian
and American behaviorism, and almost aggressive holism in aphasiology. As well
as reviewing all these perspectives, the book looks at the deep disruption of
the field during the Third Reich and its optimistic, multidisciplinary
re-emergence during the 1950s with the mathematical theory of communication as
a major impetus.
A tour de force from one of the seminal figures in the field, this book will
be essential reading for all linguists, psycholinguists, and psychologists
with an interest in language.
Linguistic Field(s): History of Linguistics
Written In: English (eng)
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