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Language, Frogs and Savants: More Linguistic Problems, Puzzles and Polemics

ISBN: 978-1-4051-3037-0
212 pages
October 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
Language, Frogs and Savants: More Linguistic Problems, Puzzles and Polemics (1405130377) cover image

Description

With topics ranging from language death to sign language, Language, Frogs and Savants offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of linguistics.

  • Written by one of the most senior figures in linguistics.
  • Features fascinating topics ranging from language death to sign language.
  • Includes an introduction to the current vision of linguistics most closely associated with Noam Chomsky.
  • Contains a glossary of all technical terms and interpretations.
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Table of Contents

Dedication.

Preface.

Introduction: What everyone should know about language and linguistics.

Part I. The meaning of ‘Language’.

Part II. Knowledge of Language.

Part III. Describing Knowledge of Language.

Part IV. Explanation in Language.

Part V. Linguistics as a ‘Science’.

Part VI. Beyond language: Pragmatics and the Language of Thought.

Part I Language in the Limit.

1. Savants.

2. Singing by the Dead.

3. Maganar Hannu.

4. Sneering at the Arts.

5. Babes and Sucklings.

6. Censored?.

7. Did you know that the Portuguese for Turkey is Peru?.

Part II Language in the Genes.

8. Obstinacy.

9. Backlash.

10. Is there a gene for linguists?.

11. Frogs, Parrots, Grooming, the Basal Ganglia and Language.

Part III Core Concerns.

12. Parametric Poverty.

13. Linguistics by Numbers.

14. Modules, Modals, Maths & the Mind.

15. Nothing.

16. The.

17. Are gucks mentally represented?.

Postscript: A Refutation.

18. Wonder.

Glossary.

References.

Index.

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Author Information

Neil Smith is one of the most senior figures in British linguistics. He is Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics at University College London, and has been Head of the Linguistics Section of the Department since 1972. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including The Twitter Machine (Blackwell, 1989), The Mind of a Savant (with Ianthi Tsimpli, Blackwell, 1995), Chomsky: Ideas and Ideals (1999, 2004) and Language, Bananas and Bonobos (Blackwell, 2002). He was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1999 and an Honorary Member of the LSA in 2000.
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The Wiley Advantage


  • What does it mean to know a language? Is there a language gene? What do we lose when a language dies? This humorous book addresses these questions and more.

  • Written by one of the most senior figures in linguistics, and the author of Language, Bananas and Bonobos.

  • Features fascinating topics ranging from language death to sign language.

  • Includes an introduction to the current vision of linguistics most closely associated with Noam Chomsky.

  • Contains a glossary of all technical terms and interpretations, making it accessible for all readers.
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Reviews

Praise for Neil Smith’s Language, Bananas and Bonobos…


"These sketches by Neil Smith's deft and expert hands provide a wonderful sampling of many and diverse paths of inquiry inspired by and informing the study of language, the unexpected delights one encounters on the way, the surprising and thought-provoking insights, and the puzzles, paradoxes and mysteries that offer a persistent challenge to understanding of essential elements of human nature." Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Neil Smith has not only a profound knowledge of current developments in linguistics but also a talent for explaining the issues clearly and approachably." John Wells FBA, University College London

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