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Linguistics and Language

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The Classics Explained

Many beginning students in philosophy of language find themselves grappling with dense and difficult texts not easily understood by someone new to the field. This book offers an introduction to philosophy of language by explaining ten classic, often anthologized, texts. Accessible and thorough, written with a unique combination of informality and careful formulation, the book addresses sense and reference, proper names, definite descriptions, indexicals, the definition of truth, truth and meaning, and the nature of speaker meaning, as addressed by Frege, Kripke, Russell, Donnellan, Kaplan, Evans, Putnam, Tarski, Davidson, and Grice. The explanations aim to be as simple as possible without sacrificing accuracy; critical assessments are included with the exposition in order to stimulate further thought and discussion.

Philosophy of Language will be an essential resource for undergraduates in a typical philosophy of language course or for graduate students with no background in the field. It can be used in conjunction with an anthology of classic texts, sparing the instructor much arduous exegesis.

Contents
Frege on Sense and Reference
Kripke on Names
Russell on Definite Descriptions
Donnellan’s Distinction
Kaplan on Demonstratives
Evans on Understanding Demonstratives
Putnam on Semantic Externalism
Tarski’s Theory of Truth
Davidson’s Semantics for Natural Language
Grice’s Theory of Speaker Meaning

An Introduction

This accessible, hands-on textbook not only introduces students to the important topics in historical linguistics but also shows them how to apply the methods described and how to think about the issues. Abundant examples and exercises allow students to focus on how to do historical linguistics. The book is distinctive for its integration of the standard topics with others now considered important to the field, including syntactic change, grammaticalization, sociolinguistic contributions to linguistic change, distant genetic relationships, areal linguistics, and linguistic prehistory. It also offers a defense of the family tree model, a response to recent claims on lexical diffusion/frequency, and a section on why languages diversify and spread. Examples are taken from a broad range of languages; those from the more familiar English, French, German, and Spanish make the topics more accessible, while those from non-Indo-European languages show the depth and range of the concepts they illustrate.

This third edition includes new material based on the latest developments in the field, increased coverage of computational approaches, and additional exercises. Many of the chapters have been revised or expanded, with new coverage of such topics as morphological change, language families, language isolates, language diversity, the Romani migration case, and misconceptions in recent work about historical linguistics. New for this edition is a downloadable instructor’s manual with answers to exercises.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solution manual

Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf

The pioneering linguist Benjamin Whorf (1897–1941) grasped the relationship between human language and human thinking: how language can shape our innermost thoughts. His basic thesis is that our perception of the world and our ways of thinking about it are deeply influenced by the structure of the languages we speak. The writings collected in this volume include important papers on the Maya, Hopi, and Shawnee languages, as well as more general reflections on language and meaning.

Whorf's ideas about the relation of language and thought have always appealed to a wide audience, but their reception in expert circles has alternated between dismissal and applause. Recently the language sciences have headed in directions that give Whorf's thinking a renewed relevance. Hence this new edition of Whorf's classic work is especially timely.

The second edition includes all the writings from the first edition as well as John Carroll's original introduction, a new foreword by Stephen Levinson of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics that puts Whorf's work in historical and contemporary context, and new indexes. In addition, this edition offers Whorf's "Yale Report," an important work from Whorf's mature oeuvre.

Since it was introduced to the English-speaking world in 1962, Lev Vygotsky's Thought and Language has become recognized as a classic foundational work of cognitive science. Its 1962 English translation must certainly be considered one of the most important and influential books ever published by the MIT Press. In this highly original exploration of human mental development, Vygotsky analyzes the relationship between words and consciousness, arguing that speech is social in its origins and that only as children develop does it become internalized verbal thought.

In 1986, the MIT Press published a new edition of the original translation by Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar, edited by Vygotsky scholar Alex Kozulin, that restored the work's complete text and added materials to help readers better understand Vygotsky's thought. Kozulin also contributed an introductory essay that offered new insight into Vygotsky's life, intellectual milieu, and research methods. This expanded edition offers Vygotsky's text, Kozulin's essay, a subject index, and a new foreword by Kozulin that maps the ever-growing influence of Vygotsky's ideas.

Exploring Language with Game Theory

In Meaningful Games, Robin Clark explains in an accessible manner the usefulness of game theory in thinking about a wide range of issues in linguistics. Clark argues that we use grammar strategically to signal our intended meanings: our choices as speaker are conditioned by what choices the hearer will make interpreting what we say. Game theory--according to which the outcome of a decision depends on the choices of others--provides a formal system that allows us to develop theories about the kind of decision making that is crucial to understanding linguistic behavior.
Clark argues the only way to understand meaning is to grapple with its social nature--that it is the social that gives content to our mental lives. Game theory gives us a framework for working out these ideas. The resulting theory of use will allow us to account for many aspects of linguistic meaning, and the grammar itself can be simplified. The results are nevertheless precise and subject to empirical testing.
Meaningful Games offers an engaging and accessible introduction to game theory and the study of linguistic meaning. No knowledge of mathematics beyond simple algebra is required; formal definitions appear in special boxes outside the main text. The book includes an extended argument in favor of the social basis of meaning; a brief introduction to game theory, with a focus on coordination games and cooperation; discussions of common knowledge and games of partial information; models of games for pronouns and politeness; and the development of a system of social coordination of reference.

Companion to Linguistics, Sixth Edition

A Linguistics Workbook is a supplement to Linguistics: An Introduction, sixth edition. It can also be used with other introductory and intermediate linguistics texts. Whereas most of the examples in the textbook are based on English, the workbook provides exercises in morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics, drawn from a wide variety of languages. This new edition has been updated, with exercises added.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: instructor’s manual

An Introduction to Language and Communication

This popular introductory linguistics text is unique for its integration of themes. Rather than treat morphology, phonetics, phonology, syntax, and semantics as completely separate fields, the book shows how they interact. It provides a sound introduction to linguistic methodology while encouraging students to consider why people are intrinsically interested in language--the ultimate puzzle of the human mind.

The text first treats such structural and interpretive parts of language as morphology, phonology, syntax, and semantics, then takes a cognitive perspective and covers such topics as pragmatics, psychology of language, language acquisition, and language and the brain. For this sixth edition, all chapters have been revised. New material includes updated examples, new special topics sections, and new discussions of the minimalist program, semantic minimalism, human genetic relationships and historical relationships among languages, Gricean theories, experimental pragmatics, and language acquisition.

The organization of the book gives instructors flexibility in designing their courses. Chapters have numerous subsections with core material presented first and additional material following as special topics. The accompanying workbook supplements the text with exercises drawn from a variety of languages. The goal is to teach basic conceptual foundations of linguistics and the methods of argumentation, justification, and hypothesis testing within the field. By presenting the most fundamental linguistics concepts in detail, the text allows students to get a feeling for how real work in different areas of linguistics is done.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: instructor's manual

This introductory text takes a novel approach to the study of syntax. Grammar as Science offers an introduction to syntax as an exercise in scientific theory construction. Syntax provides an excellent instrument for introducing students from a wide variety of backgrounds to the principles of scientific theorizing and scientific thought; it engages general intellectual themes present in all scientific theorizing as well as those arising specifically within the modern cognitive sciences. The book is intended for students majoring in linguistics as well as non-linguistics majors who are taking the course to fulfill undergraduate requirements. Grammar as Science covers such core topics in syntax as phrase structure, constituency, the lexicon, inaudible elements, movement rules, and transformational constraints, while emphasizing scientific reasoning skills. The individual units are organized thematically into sections that highlight important components of this enterprise, including choosing between theories, constructing explicit arguments for hypotheses, and the conflicting demands that push us toward expanding our technical toolkit on the one hand and constraining it on the other. Grammar as Science is constructed as a “laboratory science” course in which students actively experiment with linguistic data. Syntactica, a software application tool that allows students to create and explore simple grammars in a graphical, interactive way, is available online in conjunction with the book. Students are encouraged to “try the rules out,” and build grammars rule-by-rule, checking the consequences at each stage.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: instuctor's manual and file of figures in the book

An Introduction to Minimalist Syntax

This unusual book takes the form of a dialogue between a linguist and another scientist. The dialogue takes place over six days, with each day devoted to a particular topic—and the ensuing digressions. The role of the linguist is to present the fundamentals of the minimalist program of contemporary generative grammar. Although the linguist serves essentially as a voice for Noam Chomsky's ideas, he is not intended to be a portrait of Chomsky himself. The other scientist functions as a kind of devil's advocate, making the arguments that linguists tend to face from those in the "harder" sciences.

The author does far more than simply present the minimalist program. He conducts a running argument over the status of theoretical linguistics as a natural science. He raises the general issues of how we conceive words, phrases, and transformations, and what these processes tell us about the human mind. He also attempts to reconcile generative grammar with the punctuated equilibrium version of evolutionary theory.

In his foreword, Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini says, "The vast number of readers who have been enthralled by Goedel, Escher, Bach may well like also this syntactic companion, a sort of 'Chomsky, Fibonacci, Bach.'".

An Introduction to Semantics

This self-contained introduction to natural language semantics addresses the major theoretical questions in the field. The authors introduce the systematic study of linguistic meaning through a sequence of formal tools and their linguistic applications. Starting with propositional connectives and truth conditions, the book moves to quantification and binding, intensionality and tense, and so on. To set their approach in a broader perspective, the authors also explore the interaction of meaning with context and use (the semantics-pragmatics interface) and address some of the foundational questions, especially in connection with cognition in general. They also introduce a few of the most accessible and interesting ideas from recent research to give the reader a bit of the flavor of current work in semantics. The organization of this new edition is modular; after the introductory chapters, the remaining material can be covered in flexible order. The book presupposes no background in formal logic (an appendix introduces the basic notions of set theory) and only a minimal acquaintance with linguistics. This edition includes a substantial amount of completely new material and has been not only updated but redesigned throughout to enhance its user-friendliness.

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