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Paperback | $30.00 Short | £20.95 | ISBN: 9780262620451 | February 1984

The Language Lottery

Toward a Biology of Grammar


David Lightfoot is Director, Linguistics Program, University of Maryland and Extraordinary Professor of Linguistics, University of Utrecht, Netherlands.

About the Author

David Lightfoot is Professor and Chairman of the Linguistics Department at the University of Maryland.


"David Lightfoot has provided a lucid and expert introduction to many of the central questions in the contemporary study of language, placing the ideas and concepts in a natural biological setting, and pointing the way toward a still broader study of the structures and capacities of the human mind. It is a very valuable contribution."
Noam Chomsky
"At last! A lucid but not superficial book that explains what linguistics is about as well as how linguists go about their business. David Lightfoot's The Language Lottery is a fine account of linguistics as a biological science that can illuminate the central problem of language capacity: How does the child come to know so much on the basis of such fragmentary experience? ... Anyone who has ever pondered our special status as 'the talking species' will find The Language Lottery of compelling interest."
Dr. John C. Marshall, The Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford