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Raciolinguistics

Edited by H. Samy Alim, John R. Rickford, and Arnetha F. Ball

Raciolinguistics "Brings together a critical mass of scholars to form a new field dedicated to theorizing and analyzing language and race together."


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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

By Sari Pietikäinen, FinlandAlexandra Jaffe, Long BeachHelen Kelly-Holmes, and Nikolas Coupland

Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users."


Academic Paper


Title: Dissection of molecular mechanisms underlying speech and language disorders
Author: Simon E. Fisher
Institution: Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
Linguistic Field: Neurolinguistics; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Developmental disorders affecting speech and language are highly heritable, but very little is currently understood about the neuromolecular mechanisms that underlie these traits. Integration of data from diverse research areas, including linguistics, neuropsychology, neuroimaging, genetics, molecular neuroscience, developmental biology, and evolutionary anthropology, is becoming essential for unraveling the relevant pathways. Recent studies of the FOXP2 gene provide a case in point. Mutation of FOXP2 causes a rare form of speech and language disorder, and the gene appears to be a crucial regulator of embryonic development for several tissues. Molecular investigations of the central nervous system indicate that the gene may be involved in establishing and maintaining connectivity of corticostriatal and olivocerebellar circuits in mammals. Notably, it has been shown that FOXP2 was subject to positive selection in recent human evolution. Consideration of findings from multiple levels of analysis demonstrates that FOXP2 cannot be characterized as "the gene for speech," but rather as one critical piece of a complex puzzle. This story gives a flavor of what is to come in this field and indicates that anyone expecting simple explanations of etiology or evolution should be prepared for some intriguing surprises.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 26, Issue 1.

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