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New from Oxford University Press!


May I Quote You on That?

By Stephen Spector

A guide to English grammar and usage for the twenty-first century, pairing grammar rules with interesting and humorous quotations from American popular culture.

New from Cambridge University Press!


The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages

Edited By Peter K. Austin and Julia Sallabank

This book "examines the reasons behind the dramatic loss of linguistic diversity, why it matters, and what can be done to document and support endangered languages."

Book Information


Title: The Interactional Instinct
Subtitle: The Evolution and Acquisition of Language
Written By: Namhee Lee
Lisa Mikesell
Anna Dina L. Joaquin
Andrea W. Mates
John H. Schumann

"The Interactional Instinct" explores the evolution of language from the
theoretical view that language could have emerged without a biologically
instantiated Universal Grammar. In the first part of the book, the authors
speculate that a hominid group with a lexicon of about 600 words could
combine these items to make larger meanings. Combinations that are
successfully produced, comprehended, and learned become part of the
language. Any combination that is incompatible with human mental capacities
is abandoned. The authors argue for the emergence of language structure
through interaction constrained by human psychology and physiology.

In the second part of the book, the authors argue that language acquisition
is based on an "interactional instinct" that emotionally entrains the
infant on caregivers. This relationship provides children with a
motivational and attentional mechanism that ensures their acquisition of
language. In adult second language acquisition, the interactional instinct
is no longer operating, but in some individuals with sufficient aptitude
and motivation, successful second-language acquisition can be achieved.

"The Interactional Instinct" presents a theory of language based on
linguistic, evolutionary, and biological evidence indicating that language
is a culturally inherited artifact that requires no a priori hard wiring of
linguistic knowledge.

Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Language Acquisition
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Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0195384237
ISBN-13: 9780195384239
Pages: 256
Prices: U.S. $ 29.95

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0195384245
ISBN-13: 9780195384246
Pages: 256
Prices: U.S. $ 99.00