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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.”