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Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution [Format Kindle]

Ray Jackendoff

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Revue de presse

Jackendoff engages in a moderate and reasonable way with some of the critics of Chomsky's many controversial claims ... well written and provides a valuable and interesting account of the Chomskian approach to linguistics and how Jackendoff thinks this school of thought should reform itself in order to respond better to some of the intellectual challenges that it currently faces. (Applied Cognitive Psychology)

A masterpiece ... The concluding chapters of Foundations of Language concern meaning and reference. These tightly argued sections provide a superb and in many ways novel introduction to lexical and phrasal semantics, and to the relationship between language and the world ... deserves a wide readership. (Nature)

The importance of Foundations of Language is not in its particular proposals. It inheres rather in the fact that the book is a serious attempt to re-integrate theoretical linguistics into cognitive science. (David Adger, Times Literary Supplement)

A book that deserves to be read and reread by anyone seriously interested in the state of the art of research on language. (Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, American Scientist)

A sweeping survey of every major aspect of language and communication. Jackendoff fundamentally reexamines linguistic theory and our quest to understand human nature and cognition. (Science News)

Few books really deserve the cliché "this should be read by every researcher in the field," but Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language does. I think it is the most important book in the sciences of language to have appeared in many years. Jackendoff has long had a genius for seeing both the forest and the trees, and he puts his gift to good use here in a dazzling combination of theory-building and factual integration. The result is a compelling new view of language and its place in the natural world. (Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, MIT and author of The Language of Instinct and Words and Rules)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Already hailed as a masterpiece, Foundations of Language offers a brilliant overhaul of the last thirty-five years of research in generative linguistics and related fields. "Few books really deserve the cliché 'this should be read by every researcher in the field'," writes Steven Pinker, author of The Language Instinct, "but Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language does." Foundations of Language offers a radically new
understanding of how language, the brain, and perception intermesh. The book renews the promise of early generative linguistics: that language can be a valuable entrée into understanding the human mind and brain. The approach is remarkably interdisciplinary. Behind its innovations is Jackendoff's fundamental proposal that the creativity of
language derives from multiple parallel generative systems linked by interface components. This shift in basic architecture makes possible a radical reconception of mental grammar and how it is learned. As a consequence, Jackendoff is able to reintegrate linguistics with philosophy of mind, cognitive and developmental psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and computational linguistics. Among the major topics treated are language processing, the relation of language to perception, the
innateness of language, and the evolution of the language capacity, as well as more standard issues in linguistic theory such as the roles of syntax and the lexicon. In addition, Jackendoff offers a sophisticated theory of semantics that incorporates insights from philosophy of language, logic and
formal semantics, lexical semantics of various stripes, cognitive grammar, psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic approaches, and the author's own conceptual semantics.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.5 étoiles sur 5  6 commentaires
64 internautes sur 71 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Theoretical linguistics you can sink your teeth into.. 26 septembre 2002
Par Britta Brandt - Publié sur
On almost every page of this book, I encountered an something which caused my to spontaneously exclaim "exactly!" or "Wow!". I'm wrapping up my masters degree in Linguistics, and had still not found a theoretical framework within which I would have wanted to do research. My exposure to mainstream generative theories (mostly GB and Minimalism) had left me with an empty feeling inside as well as a great number of nagging suspicions that something was fundamentally wrong here. I was starting to turn into a boring anti-Chomskian and was reading up on every lesser-known grammar theory I could find in hopes of finding confirmation of the ideas of language that were starting to take shape in my head. I was also totally perplexed as to how grammar theory was supposed to integrate with psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and evolutionary questions.
To make a long story short, reading this book amounted to the experience of having a premier linguist with decades of professional experience at the forefront of the field say: "Your suspicions are justified, you're not the only one with these questions, here are some possible answers...", and then lay out a theory that convinces through its clarity, descriptive and explanatory power, and psychological and neurological plausibility.
A side effect of reading this book is that I realized it is possible to be a nativist and a proponent of UG in spirit while also embracing advances made in connectionist, probabilistic, and statistical approaches to processing and language learning.
Thanks Ray!
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of the best books I've ever read 18 juin 2004
Par David Gibson - Publié sur
This is an extremely good book on the various branches of linguistics, and cognitive linguistics, and their interrelations. While this is not my field and I cannot judge how fairly Jackendoff characterizes particular lines of theory and research (mindful here of an earlier review), never have I learned so much from a single book, and I left it with a profound respect for the care with which scholars of language go about their work, and the quality of the ideas resulting therefrom.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great!!! 26 novembre 2011
Par S. Dardon - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book is simply one of the best books I've read on linguistics ever. It has completely changed my perspective on linguistics and has convinced me I should do graduate school for it. I recently finished my BA in Linguistics but was becoming disillusioned with minimalist theory and the (in my opinion) pointless, dogmatic way of thinking on all sides (Lakoff and Chomsky come to mind). Jackendoff's book provided a breath of fresh air integrating so many facets from other disciplines in cognitive science and making linguistics relevent, if not at the forefront, of this multi-disciplinary field. I love his take on making linguistics a discipline more geared towards the sciences and setting a whole new agenda for linguistics (discovering the rules and ways the language interfaces interact). If you are intersted in linguistics, language, or just science in general, this book provides a decent intro to linguistcs and other disciplines such as cognitive psychology and neuroscience. It is one book crammed with food for thought concerning the nature of language, thought, and meaning.

Also, I would like to take a moment to discuss the three star review by Idiosyncrat. He says that Jackendoff dismisses things he does not understand such as Cognitive Grammar being combinatorial, and anthropological linguistics, as well as that he talks himself into a "soplipsistic" mess because he dismisses these things. First off, Cognitive grammar is combinatorial and he does not dismiss it. Second, he does not dismiss anthropological linguistics. He merely comments that their viewpoint is too shallow (i.e that language is only used for communication and it should only be studied for how it is used in a society) which I agree is true. Language has much more too offer and there is a lot more to it than just "we used it to communicate, end of story." Lastly, Jackendoff does not talk himself into a solipsistic mess. If Idiosyncrat read carefully, he would see that Jackendoff does not dismiss an external world. He merely states that we have perceptions of it (through our senses) and then our brain constructs the conceptual basis of that reality. He does not deny reality, only says that we internalize it to "create" our interpretation of the outside reality. Also, he is not speculating about this philosophically, he provides an abundance of evidence from the neuropsychology of vision and perception to make his point, and I believe, he is very convincing.
30 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Worth browsing through 10 juillet 2003
Par Idiosyncrat - Publié sur
But not nearly as good as many people would have believe. Jackendoff has an unquestionably good broad grasp of mainstream contemporary research in grammar and cognitive psychology, and his approach to grammatical theory is way saner than mainstream generative grammar. But he is too dismissive of many things he evidently does not understand, like Cognitive Linguistics (which he calls "combinatorial", overusing the most overused word in this book), or anthropologically-oriented approaches to language. This is too bad, because he talks himself into a terrible solipsistic mess in his chapters on semantics (where he attacks "formal", truth-conditional semantics), which, as far as I can see, the only ideas that can get him out are those he dismisses the most casually.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Linguistics 2 mai 2014
Par Real Eyes - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Good overview book. Linguistics is a fascinating study and everyone who wants to understand the efforts to analyze how language works should understand a little about linguistics.
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