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New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Book Information


Title: How New Languages Emerge
Written By: David W Lightfoot

New languages are constantly emerging, as existing languages diverge into
different forms. To explain this fascinating process, we need to understand
how languages change and how they emerge in children. In this pioneering
study, David Lightfoot explains how languages come into being, arguing that
children are the driving force. He explores how new systems arise, how they
are acquired by children, and how adults and children play different,
complementary roles in language change. Lightfoot makes an important
distinction between 'external language' (language as it exists in the
world), and 'internal language' (language as represented in an individual's
brain). By examining the interplay between the two, he shows how children
are 'cue-based' learners, who scan their external linguistic environment
for new structures, making sense of the world outside in order to build
their internal language. Engaging and original, this book offers a
pathbreaking new account of language acquisition, variation and change.

1. Internal languages and the outside world;
2. Traditional language change;
3. Some properties of language organs;
4. Languages emerging in children;
5. New E-languages cuing new I-languages;
6. Use and variation of grammars;
7. The eruption of new grammars;
8. A new historical linguistics.

Publication Year: 2006
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0521859131
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 210
Prices: U.S. $ 75.00

Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0521676290
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 208
Prices: U.S. $ 29.99