I-Language introduces the uninitiated to linguistics as cognitive science.
In an engaging, down-to-earth style Daniela Isac and Charles Reiss give a
crystal-clear demonstration of the application of the scientific method in
linguistic theory. Their presentation of the research programme inspired
and led by Noam Chomsky shows how the focus of theory and research in
linguistics shifted from treating language as a disembodied, human-external
entity to cognitive biolinguistics - the study of language as a human
cognitive system embedded within the mind/brain of each individual. The
recurring theme of equivalence classes in linguistic computation ties
together the presentation of material from phonology, morphology, syntax,
and semantics. The same theme is used to help students understand the place
of linguistics in the broader context of the cognitive sciences, by drawing
on examples from vision, audition, and even animal cognition.
This textbook is unique in its integration of empirical issues of
linguistic analysis, engagement with philosophical questions that arise in
the study of language, and treatment of the history of the field. Topics
ranging from allophony to reduplication, ergativity, and negative polarity
are invoked to show the implications of findings in cognitive
biolinguistics for philosophical issues like reference, the mind-body
problem, and nature-nurture debates.
This textbook contains numerous exercises and guides for further reading as
well as ideas for student projects. A companion website with guidance for
instructors and answers to the exercises features a series of pdf slide
presentations to accompany the teaching of each topic.