Harris captures the passion of many of the momentous events of this period with a lively prose style that is truly enjoyable to read. This book should be read by every scholar of linguistics. Extensive and enlightening notes pp.
Language, Thought, and the Linguistics Wars
John Laurence Miller The Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 23 said: The great strength of Harris1s account is that he combines the linguist1s understanding of the technical issues involved in research and theory construction with the historian1s appreciation of the role that social and psychological factors play in a scientific community. Konrad Koerner The Canadian Journal of Linguistics 40, said: The two glowing encomiums printed on the dust jacket aside, the book sold some 3, copies within the first year of publication.
True, its exposure on the Linguist electronic bulletin board during August-September participants: John M. Lawler, Stephen O.
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Revised ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. This is an account of the schism that developed in linguistics during the s and 70s, between Noam Chomsky with his revolutionary ideas about mental structure and universal grammar, and his disciples who took his ideas in a direction he was unhappy with. The repercussions of this divisive and acrimonious dispute remain in the ways that linguists look at language and the mind.
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George Lakoff and the linguistics wars
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This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Review : Beautifully written, packed with information and perceptive observations, and very well argued.
This was so long ago that Basic and Pascal were considered high level languages. The book describes the rise of Chomsky as the enfant terrible, the adult terrible, then the eminence grise of linguistics. Chomsky actually did use the term language organ meaning a facility of the human brain responsible for our production of language of speech. Neuroscience never uses such a term, and Chomsky never tried to localize it in the brain, but work on the aphasias made this at least plausible. The last universal left standing was recursion e.
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Then a missionary turned linguist Daniel Everett found a tribe in the Amazon the Piraha with a language which not only lacked recursion, but tenses as well. It makes fascinating reading, including the linguist W. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.
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Based on the current state of evidence, we submit that the most fundamental questions about the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever, with considerable uncertainty about the discovery of either relevant or conclusive evidence that can adjudicate among the many open hypotheses. We conclude by presenting some suggestions about possible paths forward. I think, that Wolfe is right — language is just a tool like the wheel or the axe which humans developed to help them. That our brain size is at least 3 times the size of our nearest evolutionary cousin the Chimpanzee probably had something to do with it.
All in all a fascinating and enjoyable book. The prose will pick you up and carry you along.