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Language & Speech

This introduction to the interdisciplinary study of cognition takes the novel approach of bringing several disciplines to bear on the subject of communication. Using the perspectives of linguistics, logic, AI, philosophy, and psychology—the component fields of cognitive science—to explore topics in human communication in depth, the book shows readers and students from any background how these disciplines developed their distinctive views, and how those views interact.

The book introduces some sample phenomena of human communication that illustrate the approach of cognitive science in understanding the mind, and then considers theoretical issues, including the relation of logic and computation and the concept of representation. It describes the development of a model of natural language and explores the link between an utterance and its meaning and how this can be described in a formal way on the basis of recent advances in AI research. It looks at communication employing graphical messages and the similarities and differences between language and diagrams. Finally, the book considers some general philosophical critiques of computational models of mind.

The book can be used at a number of different levels. A glossary, suggestions for further reading, and a Web site with multiple-choice questions are provided for nonspecialist students; advanced students can supplement the material with readings that take the topics into greater depth.

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.'".

In this introductory-level linguistics text, Steven E. Weisler and Slavko Milekic develop a theoretically motivated analysis of language with an emphasis on grammar construction and argumentation. They introduce the theory of language, sounds, words, sentences, and meaning, as well as language and the brain.The text is available either in hard-copy form or as a CD-ROM. The CD-ROM presents the text in a dynamic digital learning environment, engaging the user in simulations, demonstrations, hypothesis testing, and theory construction while providing a systematic introduction to linguistic theory. The electronic edition also incorporates the Tree Builder tool for construction and evaluation of phonological, metrical, and syntactic analysis of trees, as well as a word processor, various annotation mechanisms (for example, the ability to create and exchange voice and text memos), import/export capabilities that allow the exchange of different types of information, and an extensive series of interviews with such prominent figures as David Caplan, Noam Chomsky, Lyn Frazier, John Rickford, Tom Roeper, Ivan Sag, and Tom Wasow.

Bound to become a classic and to stimulate debate and research, The Evolution of Communication looks at species in their natural environments as a way to begin to understand what the real units of analysis of communicating systems are, using arguments about design and function to illuminate both the origin and subsequent evolution of each system. It lights the way for a research program that seriously addresses the problem of how communication systems, including language, have been designed over the course of evolution.

Language

An Invitation to Cognitive Science provides a point of entry into the vast realm of cognitive science, offering selected examples of issues and theories from many of its subfields. All of the volumes in the second edition contain substantially revised and as well as entirely new chapters.

Rather than surveying theories and data in the manner characteristic of many introductory textbooks in the field, An Invitation to Cognitive Science employs a unique case study approach, presenting a focused research topic in some depth and relying on suggested readings to convey the breadth of views and results. Each chapter tells a coherent scientific story, whether developing themes and ideas or describing a particular model and exploring its implications.

The volumes are self contained and can be used individually in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses ranging from introductory psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, and decision sciences, to social psychology, philosophy of mind, rationality, language, and vision science.

An Introduction to Semantic Theory

Current textbooks in formal semantics are all versions of, or introductions to, the same paradigm in semantic theory: Montague Grammar. Knowledge of Meaning is based on different assumptions and a different history. It provides the only introduction to truth- theoretic semantics for natural languages, fully integrating semantic theory into the modern Chomskyan program in linguistic theory and connecting linguistic semantics to research elsewhere in cognitive psychology and philosophy. As such, it better fits into a modern graduate or undergraduate program in linguistics, cognitive science, or philosophy. Furthermore, since the technical tools it employs are much simpler to teach and to master, Knowledge of Meaning can be taught by someone who is not primarily a semanticist.

Linguistic semantics cannot be studied as a stand-alone subject but only as part of cognitive psychology, the authors assert. It is the study of a particular human cognitive competence governing the meanings of words and phrases. Larson and Segal argue that speakers have unconscious knowledge of the semantic rules of their language, and they present concrete, empirically motivated proposals about a formal theory of this competence based on the work of Alfred Tarski and Donald Davidson. The theory is extended to a wide range of constructions occurring in natural language, including predicates, proper nouns, pronouns and demonstratives, quantifiers, definite descriptions, anaphoric expressions, clausal complements, and adverbs.

Knowledge of Meaning gives equal weight to philosophical, empirical, and formal discussions. It addresses not only the empirical issues of linguistic semantics but also its fundamental conceptual questions, including the relation of truth to meaning and the methodology of semantic theorizing. Numerous exercises are included in the book.

Thinking and Learning about Print

Beginning to Read reconciles the debate that has divided theorists for decades over the "right" way to help children learn to read. Drawing on a rich array of research on the nature and development of reading proficiency, Adams shows educators that they need not remain trapped in the phonics versus teaching-for-meaning dilemma. She proposes that phonics can work together with the whole language approach to teaching reading and provides an integrated treatment of the knowledge and process involved in skillful reading, the issues surrounding their acquisition, and the implications for reading instruction.

A Bradford Book

Core Readings
Edited by Paul Bloom

Language Acquisition offers, in one convenient reader, work by the most outstanding researchers in each field and is intended as a snapshot of the sort of theory and research taking place in language acquisition in the 1990s. All of the articles and chapters were chosen to reflect topics and debates of current interest, and all take an interdisciplinary approach to language development, relating the study of how a child comes to possess a language to issues within linguistics, computational theory, biology, social cognition, and comparative psychology.

While there are several introductory texts on language development, and countless collections of articles, thisscientists are asking about language acquisition, the important experimental findings, and the key theoretical debates, suitable for students at advanced levels and scholars with a range of different perspectives and interests.

The readings are organized into six sections:

- the onset of language development,

- word learning,

- syntax and semantics,

- morphology,

- acquisition in special circumstances, and

- alternative perspectives.

Each section serves as an introduction to a specific area and provides sufficient background for further reading.

Contributors: Dare A. Baldwin. Paul Bloom. Melissa Bowerman. Kathie L. Carpenter. Eve V. Clark. Stephen Crain. Richard F. Cromer. Anne Fernald. Lila Gleitman. Richard Goldberg. Susan Goldin-Meadow. Peter Gordon. Jess Gropen. Michelle Hollander. Janellen Huttenlocher. Annette Karmiloff-Smith. Ellen M.Markman. Peter Marler. Jay L. McClelland. Carolyn Mylander. Elissa L. Newport. Laura Ann Petitto. Steven Pinker. David E. Rumelhart. Patricia Smiley.

A Bradford Book