Word and World / Practice and the Foundations of Language



, ,

By Patricia Hanna And Bernard Harrison

Word and World Practice and the Foundations of Language

“Philosophy, as Gilbert Ryle noted long ago, deals characteristically in dilemmas: their exploration and (sometimes) their resolution. Ryle was clearly right. Philosophical puzzlement very often originates in a question –which for some reason seems to us momentous – either answer to which commits us to unpalatable or implausible consequences.
So it is with the question whether “language” in the abstract, language taken as a semantic order, a system of meanings, “mirrors the world”: whether the categories, concepts, structures with which it furnishes us, far from being inventions of the human mind, simply transcribe categories and structures already inscribed in Nature, or Reality. Ifwe answer “yes,” we surely discount, or at least minimise to an implausible degree, the part played by human ingenuity in the constitution of meaning in actual languages. If we answer “no,” by contrast, we seem to be denying the possibility of truth and objectivity. For how are we to describe anything truly, if the terms in which language forces us to frame all that can be said are set, not by the nature of what is to be described, but by linguistic or social convention?”

A Course in Phonetics (6th Edition)



, ,

By Peter Ladefoged & Keith Johnson

A Course in Phonetics (6th Edition) by Peter Ladefoged, Keith Johnson ed

“The sixth edition marks a transition in A Course in Phonetics. This is the first edition to appear since the death of Peter Ladefoged. When I was asked by his widow Jenny Ladefoged and publisher Michael Rosenberg to produce this new edition of the Course, I was honored but also quite daunted. Through five editions, this book has been an almost ideal tool for teaching phonetics. When you start from such a high point, there is a lot of room to go down and not much room to go up.
As in previous editions of this book, there is an introduction to how speech is produced, a description of speech in acoustic terms, and instruction in practical phonetic skills. These approaches all use phonetic transcription. Whether you are a speech pathologist, an opera singer, a linguist, an actor, or any other student of speech, you need to be able to represent the sounds of speech by using the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This is the accepted way of recording observations of what people say. Ordinary spelling does not allow you to represent all the subtle variations that occur when different people talk. Learning to use the IPA symbols is an essential part of phonetics.
One of the main changes in this new edition is that the sections on acoustic phonetics and speech motor control go deeper than those in the fifth edition did. The aim of the acoustic phonetics sections is to help students use widely available tools for digitally inspecting and manipulating speech. However, instructors who prefer the traditional system of teaching only articulatory phonetics to start will still find it possible to do so by simply skipping the acoustics sections. Inclusion of new material on speech motor control is meant to provide a firmer foundation for the understanding of speech production, and the performance exercises in each chapter provide a framework for students to practice the sounds of the world’s languages.”

Foundations of Language / Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution



, , , ,

By Ray Jackendoff

Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution

“In exploring where I thought traditional assumptions of generative grammar had led linguistics astray, I also discovered real scientific reasons (beyond the all too numerous personal and political ones) for the gradual distancing of linguistics from much of the rest of cognitive (neuro)science. And, although my reformulation of grammar was motivated largely on grounds internal to linguistics, it turned out also to permit much more fruitful interactions with research in language processing, language acquisition, language use, spatial cognition, social cognition, evolutionary psychology, and neuroscience. If anything, these interactions have proven to be the most exciting aspect of the enterprise, for to me they revive the promise of the generative linguistics of my intellectual child-hood: that the study of linguistic structure can provide an entree into the complexities of mind and brain. Not the only one by any means, but one with unique insights to offer.
The goal of the present book, therefore, is to present an overview of the new landscape and an exploration of some of the roads through it. I have written it with three concentric audiences in mind. The most central, of course, is linguists of all specialties and all persuasions. The next ring includes those disciplines that look to linguistics for theoretical models: psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, language acquisition, and computational linguistics. The outer ring includes everyone else who has some professional concern with language, including psychologists, cognitive scientists, neuroscientists, philosophers of language and philosophers of mind, perhaps evolutionary biologists. Naturally I also welcome anyone else who wishes to join in the conversation.”

Advances in Consciousness Research Volume 65



, , , , , , ,

Signs, Mind, and Reality: a theory of language as the folk model of the world

By Sebastian Shaumyan

Signs, Mind, and Reality By Sebastian Shaumyan

 “This book is about a great intellectual adventure — the search for instruments that can free linguistics from dependence on the preconceived logical categories of the sentence and can make it to become a truly autonomous branch of knowledge, independent of logic and any notions alien to the nature of language. Only by becoming a truly autonomous branch of knowledge will linguistics be assigned its deserved place in the system of sciences.

As the culmination of many years of research, I have developed Semiotic Linguistics, a new linguistic discipline, which I present in this book. The domain of Semiotic Linguistics is radically distinct from all of the other domains of linguistics. The domain of Semiotic Linguistics is human language conceived of as a folk model of the world. By a folk model of the world we mean that every language is a particular conventionalized form of the representation of the world imposed on all the members of a language community by the social need to have a common instrument of communication. The folk model of the world is in fact a collective philosophy unique to each language. It is called the folk model because in many essential features it differs from a scientific model of the world.”

¿Es feliz el hombre que es alto? (Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?


An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky, Francia, 2013, 88 mins.)

Director: Michel Gondry


“La más reciente película documental de Michel Gondry presenta una serie de entrevistas con el lingüista, filósofo y activista Noam Chomsky. Durante este diálogo, ilustrado con alucinantes y coloridos dibujos animados, se construye un retrato de Chomsky como profesor eminente y como hombre común a la vez que se revela la prodigiosa mente del célebre lingüista. Una conversación animada donde la creatividad y la imaginación sirven para ilustrar el rigor intelectual.”

*Clic en la imagen para ver horarios y fechas en la Cineteca Nacional.

Language in the Brain



, , , , ,

By Helmut Schnelle

Language in the Brain By Helmut Schnelle

“… the first part of the book is a systematic introduction to the functional constitution of form and meaning organizing brain components. The essential core elements are perceptions, actions, attention, emotion and feeling. Their descriptions provide foundations for experience-based semantics and pragmatics. The second part is addressed to non-linguists and presents the structure foundations and formal presentations of currently established linguistic frameworks. This book should be serious reading for anyone interested in a comprehensive understanding of language, in which evolution, functional organization and hierarchies are explained by reference to brain architecture and dynamics.”