I-language: An Introduction to Linguistics as Cognitive Science (2nd Revised edition) by Daniela Isac, Charles Reiss, 9780199660179

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    I-Language introduces the uninitiated to linguistics as cognitive science. In an engaging, down-to-earth style Daniela Isac and Charles Reiss give a crystal-clear demonstration of the application of the scientific method in linguistic theory. Their presentation of the research program inspired by Noam Chomsky shows how the focus of theory and research in linguistics shifted from treating language as a disembodied, human-external entity to cognitive biolinguistics - the study of language as a human cognitive system embedded within the mind/brain of each individual. The recurring theme of equivalence classes in linguistic computation ties together the presentation of material from phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. The same theme is used to help students understand the place of linguistics in the broader context of the cognitive sciences, by drawing on examples from vision, audition and even animal cognition. This textbook is unique in its integration of empirical issues of linguistic analysis, engagement with philosophical questions that arise in the study of language, and treatment of the history of the field. Topics ranging from allophony to reduplication, ergativity, and negative polarity are invoked to show the implications of findings in cognitive biolinguistics for philosophical issues like reference, the mind-body problem, and nature-nurture debates. The well-tested material in the book is appropriate for a variety of audiences, from large introductory courses in linguistics to graduate seminars in cognitive science or philosophy of mind. It contains numerous exercises and guides for further reading as well as ideas for student projects. A companion website with guidance for instructors and answers to the exercises features a series of pdf slide presentations to accompany the teaching of each topic. This fully revised and updated second edition includes additional exercises and expanded discussions on topics such as language and culture, philosophy, and rationalist explorations of language and mind.

    Publisher reviews

    Review from previous edition This book is an engaging and pioneering introduction to Biolinguistic theory construction and scientific method. It's one of very few texts I've ever read that clarifies, with formal yet accessible linguistic analyses and argument, the Chomskyan shift in focus away from treating human language as some kind of non-psychological human-external entity to the study of human language as "I-language" - a cognitive system embedded within the mind/brain of each individual. Professor Samuel Epstein, University of Michigan Strikingly original and fully student-oriented, this book covers all the bases of modern linguistic theory from a single perspective: the workings of the human mind. Breaking with the traditional organization of a linguistics textbook, Isac and Reiss juxtapose an engaging presentation of linguistic analysis with exciting discussion of relevant aspects from cognitive science and philosophy. This is arguably the most stimulating introductory textbook around today, offering an approach that I now know was sorely missed. Dr Jan-Wouter Zwart, University of Groningen



    About the author

    Charles Reiss is Professor of Linguistics at Concordia University, Montreal, co-editor with Gillian Ramchand of The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces (OUP 2007), and co-author with Mark Hale of The Phonological Enterprise (OUP 2008).




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