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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Book Information

   
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Title: Unravelling the Evolution of Language
Written By: Rudolf P. Botha
URL: http://www.elseviersocialsciences.com/isbn/0080443184/index.html
Series Title: Language and Communication Library
Description:

What blocks the way to a better understanding of language evolution, it is widely held, is above all a paucity of factual evidence. Not so, argues Unravelling the Evolution of Language. This book finds the main obstacle, instead, in a poverty of a specific kind of theory - restrictive theory. It shows, too, that this poverty of restrictive theory is one of the root causes of the paucity of factual evidence.

Unravelling... takes it that a theory of a thing T - for example, language - is restrictive if it gives us a basis for distinguishing T in a non-arbitrary way from all things that are in fact distinct from it, including those that happen to be related to it. The book then argues in detail that much of the recent work on language evolution proceeds from loose assumptions, rather than restrictive theories, about a number of crucial "things":

*The entities, prelinguistic or linguistic, that are believed to have undergone evolution
*The processes by which these entities are believed to have evolved
*The ways in which these (pre)linguistic entities link up with entities that are believed to be correlates of them
*The sources of data that are believed to yield indirect evidence about the evolution of language
*The factors that add to or subtract from the scientific substance of accounts of language evolution.

In support of its main argument, Unravelling... puts forward detailed analyses of various recent accounts of language evolution, including -

* co-optationist accounts by Noam Chomsky, Stephen Jay Gould, Massimo
Piattelli-Palmarini and Lyle Jenkins
* preadaptationist accounts by Philip Lieberman, Wendy Wilkins, Jenny
Wakefield, Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, William Calvin and Derek
Bickerton
* adaptationist accounts by Steven Pinker, Paul Bloom and others.

This means that Unravelling... as it builds its main argument, also offers an appraisal of some significant contributions to recent work on language evolution.

Contents

Part and chapter headings:
Acknowledgements.
Preamble.
Linguistic Entities Involved in Evolution.
Language and the Language Faculty.
The Formal Grammatical System.
Language in Multiple (Dis)guises.
A Theory of Linguistic Entities.
Processes of Language Evolution.
Co-optation in Language Evolution.
Preadaptation in Language Evolution.
Natural Selection in Language Evolution.
Theories of Evolutionary Processes.
Evidence and Argumentation.
Testability: a Litmus Test?
Indirect Evidence.
Non-empirical Argumentation.
Plausible Evolutionary Stories.
Theories of the Substance of Science.
Capstone.
Notes.
Bibliography.
Index.

Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Review: Read the review
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Anthropological Linguistics
Issue: All announcements sent out by The LINGUIST List are emailed to our subscribers and archived with the Library of Congress.
Click here to see the original emailed issue.

Versions:
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0080443184
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 244
Prices: USD90 EUR90