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New from Oxford University Press!


Language Planning as a Sociolinguistic Experiment

By: Ernst Jahr

Provides richly detailed insight into the uniqueness of the Norwegian language development. Marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian nation following centuries of Danish rule

New from Cambridge University Press!


Acquiring Phonology: A Cross-Generational Case-Study

By Neil Smith

The study also highlights the constructs of current linguistic theory, arguing for distinctive features and the notion 'onset' and against some of the claims of Optimality Theory and Usage-based accounts.

New from Brill!


Language Production and Interpretation: Linguistics meets Cognition

By Henk Zeevat

The importance of Henk Zeevat's new monograph cannot be overstated. [...] I recommend it to anyone who combines interests in language, logic, and computation [...]. David Beaver, University of Texas at Austin

Book Information


Title: Bio-Linguistics
Subtitle: The Santa Barbara lectures

Is human language an evolutionary adaptation? Is linguistics a natural science? These questions have bedeviled philosophers, philologists and linguists from Plato through Chomsky. Prof. Givón suggests that the answers fall naturally within an integrated study of living organisms.
In this new work, Givón points out that language operates between aspects of both complex biological design and adaptive behavior. As in biology, the whole is an adaptive compromise to competing demands. Variation is the indispensable tool of learning, change and adaptation. The contrast between innateness and input-driven emergence is an interaction between genetically-coded and behaviorally-coded experience.
In enlarging the cross-disciplinary domain, the book examines the parallels between language evolution and language diachrony. Sociality, cooperation and communication are shown to be rooted in a common evolutionary source, the kin-based hunting-and-gathering society of intimates.
The book pays homage to the late Joseph Greenberg and his visionary integration of functional motivation, typological diversity and diachronic change.

Table of Contents

Preface xv•xviii
Language as a bio-adaptation 1•29
The bounds of generativity and the adaptive basis of variation 31•69
The demise of competence 71•122
Human language as an evolutionary product 123•162
An evolutionary account of language processing rates 163•184
The diachronic foundations of language universals 205•224
The neuro-cognitive interpretation of ‘context’ 225•261
The grammar of perspective in narrative fiction 263•301
The society of intimates 303•333
On the ontology of academic negativity 335•345
Epilogue: Joseph Greenberg as a theorist 347•355
Bibliography 357•377

Publication Year: 2002
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Anthropological Linguistics
Functional & Systemic Ling
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 158811225X
ISBN-13: 9781588112255
Pages: xviii, 383 pp.
Prices: U.S.$ 176
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9027225907
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: xviii, 383 pp.
Prices: EUR 110.00
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1588112268
ISBN-13: 9781588112262
Pages: xviii, 383 pp.
Prices: U.S.$ 59
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9027225915
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: xviii, 383 pp.
Prices: EUR 44.00