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Linguistics

ADAM'S TONGUE: How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans

ADAM'S TONGUE: How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans

Author: BICKERTON, DEREK
$16.00
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How language evolved has been called "the hardest problem in science." In Adam's Tongue, Derek Bickerton--long a leading authority in this field--shows how and why previous attempts to solve that problem have fallen short. Taking cues from topics as diverse as the foraging strategies of ants, the distribution of large prehistoric herbivores, and the construction of ecological niches, Bickerton produces a dazzling new alternative to the conventional wisdom.

Language is unique to humans, but it isn't the only thing that sets us apart from other species--our cognitive powers are qualitatively different. So could there be two separate discontinuities between humans and the rest of nature? No, says Bickerton; he shows how the mere possession of symbolic units--words--automatically opened a new and different cognitive universe, one that yielded novel innovations ranging from barbed arrowheads to the Apollo spacecraft.

Written in Bickerton's lucid and irreverent style, this book is the first to thoroughly integrate the story of how language evolved with the story of how humans evolved. Sure to be controversial, it will make indispensable reading both for experts in the field and for every reader who has ever wondered how a species as remarkable as ours could have come into existence.'

AS TIME GOES BY: TENSE AND UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR

AS TIME GOES BY: TENSE AND UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR

Author: HORNSTEIN, NORBERT
$13.95
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How do humans acquire, at a very early age and from fragmentary and haphazard data, the complex patterns of their native language? This is the logical problem of language acquisition, and it is the question that directs the search for an innate universal grammar. As Time Goes By extends the search by proposing a theory of natural-language tense that will be responsive to the problem of language acquisition.

The clearly written discussion proceeds step-by-step from simple observations and principles to far-reaching conclusions involving complex data carefully selected and persuasively presented. Throughout, Hornstein focuses on the logical problem of language acquisition, highlighting the importance of explanatory adequacy and the role of syntactic representations in determining intricate properties of semantic interpretation.

COSMIC WEB

COSMIC WEB

Author: HAYLES, N. KATHERINE
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From the central concept of the field--which depicts the world as a mutually interactive whole, with each part connected to every other part by an underlying field-- have come models as diverse as quantum mathematics and Saussure's theory of language. In The Cosmic Web, N. Katherine Hayles seeks to establish the scope of the field concept and to assess its importance for contemporary thought. She then explores the literary strategies that are attributable directly or indirectly to the new paradigm; among the texts at which she looks closely are Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Nabokov's Ada, D. H. Lawrence's early novels and essays, Borges's fiction, and Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow.

COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS

COURSE IN GENERAL LINGUISTICS

Author: SAUSSURE, FERDINAND DE
$32.00
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The founder of modern linguistics, Ferdinand de Saussure inaugurated semiology, structuralism, and deconstruction and made possible the work of Jacques Derrida, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, and Jacques Lacan, thus enabling the development of French feminism, gender studies, New Historicism, and postcolonialism. Based on Saussure's lectures, Course in General Linguistics (1916) traces the rise and fall of the historical linguistics in which Saussure was trained, the synchronic or structural linguistics with which he replaced it, and the new look of diachronic linguistics that followed this change. Most important, Saussure presents the principles of a new linguistic science that includes the invention of semiology, or the theory of the "signifier," the "signified," and the "sign" that they combine to produce.

This is the first critical edition of Course in General Linguistics to appear in English and restores Wade Baskin's original translation of 1959, in which the terms "signifier" and "signified" are introduced into English in this precise way. Baskin renders Saussure clearly and accessibly, allowing readers to experience his shift of the theory of reference from mimesis to performance and his expansion of poetics to include all media, including the life sciences and environmentalism. An introduction situates Saussure within the history of ideas and describes the history of scholarship that made Course in General Linguistics legendary. New endnotes enlarge Saussure's contexts to include literary criticism, cultural studies, and philosophy.

DICTIONARY OF GESTURES: EXPRESSIVE COMPORTMENTS AND MOVEMENTS IN USE AROUND THE WORLD

DICTIONARY OF GESTURES: EXPRESSIVE COMPORTMENTS AND MOVEMENTS IN USE AROUND THE WORLD

Author: CARADEC, FRANÇOIS
$24.95
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An illustrated guide to more than 850 gestures and their meanings around the world, from a nod of the head to a click of the heels.

Gestures convey meaning with a flourish. A vigorous nod of the head, a bold jut of the chin, an enthusiastic thumbs-up: all speak louder than words. Yet the same gesture may have different meanings in different parts of the world. What Americans understand as the "A-OK gesture," for example, is an obscene insult in the Arab world. This volume is the reference book we didn't know we needed--an illustrated dictionary of 850 gestures and their meanings around the world. It catalogs voluntary gestures made to communicate openly--as distinct from sign language, dance moves, involuntary "tells," or secret handshakes--and explains what the gesture conveys in a variety of locations. It is organized by body part, from top to bottom, from head (nodding, shaking, turning) to foot (scraping, kicking, playing footsie).

We learn that "to oscillate the head while gently throwing it back" communicates approval in some countries even though it resembles the headshake of disapproval used in other countries; that "to tap a slightly inflated cheek" constitutes an erotic invitation when accompanied by a wink; that the middle finger pointed in the air signifies approval in South America. We may already know that it is a grave insult in the Middle East and Asia to display the sole of one's shoe, but perhaps not that motorcyclists sometimes greet each other by raising a foot. Illustrated with clever line drawings and documented with quotations from literature (the author, François Caradec, was a distinguished and prolific historian of literature, culture, and humorous oddities, as well as a novelist and poet), this dictionary offers readers unique lessons in polylingual meaning.

EMPIRES OF THE WORD: A Language History of the World

EMPIRES OF THE WORD: A Language History of the World

Author: OSTLER, NICHOLAS
$17.99
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Nicholas Ostler's Empires of the Word is the first history of the world's great tongues, gloriously celebrating the wonder of words that binds communities together and makes possible both the living of a common history and the telling of it.

From the uncanny resilience of Chinese through twenty centuries of invasions to the engaging self-regard of Greek and to the struggles that gave birth to the languages of modern Europe, these epic achievements and more are brilliantly explored, as are the fascinating failures of once "universal" languages.

A splendid, authoritative, and remarkable work, it demonstrates how the language history of the world eloquently reveals the real character of our planet's diverse peoples and prepares us for a linguistic future full of surprises.
ENGLISH AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE

ENGLISH AS A GLOBAL LANGUAGE

Author: CRYSTAL, DAVID
$12.95
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David Crystal, world authority on the English language, has written a timely and informative account of the phenomenon of English as a global language. It includes a historical summary of the global development of English; an analysis, well supported by facts and figures, of the current spread and status of English as a first and second language internationally; and an informed assessment - by one of the leading scholars of and general writers about language matters - of the future of English. The book asks three basic questions: what makes a world language? why is English the leading candidate? and will it continue to hold that position? It steers even-handedly through the minefield of political debate about the cultural hegemony of English, and will appeal to anyone with an interest in language issues, whatever their political views on the subject.
ENGLISH LANGUAGES

ENGLISH LANGUAGES

Author: MCARTHUR, TOM
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Hundreds of millions of people use English every day everywhere in the world, but may or may not succeed in understanding each other. Despite the success of its standard form (or forms) in many countries, the complex called "English" is immensely diverse--probably more diverse than any single language has ever been--and is likely to become even more so in the next century. This book is a compelling and broad-ranging invitation to consider the variety, the options and the implications of this vast system. The English Languages looks at the "pluralism" of English, the "Englishes," that have arisen in the past twenty years or so, and addresses the question of whether or not English can be considered a family of languages in its own right, like the Romance languages.
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FIRST WORD: SEARCH FOR THE ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE

Author: KENNEALY, CHRISTINE
$16.00
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An accessible exploration of a burgeoning new field: the incredible evolution of language

The first popular book to recount the exciting, very recent developments in tracing the origins of language, The First Word is at the forefront of a controversial, compelling new field. Acclaimed science writer Christine Kenneally explains how a relatively small group of scientists that include Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker assembled the astounding narrative of how the fundamental process of evolution produced a linguistic ape?in other words, us. Infused with the wonder of discovery, this vital and engrossing book offers us all a better understanding of the story of humankind.

FOUR WORDS FOR FRIEND: WHY USING MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE MATTERS NOW MORE THAN EVER

FOUR WORDS FOR FRIEND: WHY USING MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE MATTERS NOW MORE THAN EVER

Author: KOHN, MAREK
$20.00
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A compelling argument about the importance of using more than one language in today's world

In a world that has English as its global language and rapidly advancing translation technology, it's easy to assume that the need to use more than one language will diminish--but Marek Kohn argues that plural language use is more important than ever. In a divided world, it helps us to understand ourselves and others better, to live together better, and to make the most of our various cultures.

Kohn, whom the Guardian has called "one of the best science writers we have," brings together perspectives from psychology, evolutionary thought, politics, literature, and everyday experience. He explores how people acquire languages; how they lose them; how they can regain them; how different languages may affect people's perceptions, their senses of self, and their relationships with each other; and how to resolve the fundamental contradiction of languages, that they exist as much to prevent communication as to make it happen.