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  • Published: 20 April 2018
  • ISBN: 9780262535113
  • Imprint: MIT Press Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 344
  • RRP: $59.99
Categories:

Creating Language

Integrating Evolution, Acquisition, and Processing



A work that reveals the profound links between the evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, and proposes a new integrative framework for the language sciences.Language is a hallmark of the human species; the flexibility and unbounded expressivity of our linguistic abilities is unique in the biological world. In this book, Morten Christiansen and Nick Chater argue that to understand this astonishing phenomenon, we must consider how language is created: moment by moment, in the generation and understanding of individual utterances; year by year, as new language learners acquire language skills; and generation by generation, as languages change, split, and fuse through the processes of cultural evolution. Christiansen and Chater propose a revolutionary new framework for understanding the evolution, acquisition, and processing of language, offering an integrated theory of how language creation is intertwined across these multiple timescales.Christiansen and Chater argue that mainstream generative approaches to language do not provide compelling accounts of language evolution, acquisition, and processing. Their own account draws on important developments from across the language sciences, including statistical natural language processing, learnability theory, computational modeling, and psycholinguistic experiments with children and adults. Christiansen and Chater also consider some of the major implications of their theoretical approach for our understanding of how language works, offering alternative accounts of specific aspects of language, including the structure of the vocabulary, the importance of experience in language processing, and the nature of recursive linguistic structure.

  • Published: 20 April 2018
  • ISBN: 9780262535113
  • Imprint: MIT Press Academic
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 344
  • RRP: $59.99
Categories:

About the authors

Morten H. Christiansen

One of the world’s leading language scientists, Morten is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Cornell University as well as Senior Scientist at the Haskins Labs and Professor in Cognitive Science of Language at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, Denmark. He was awarded the Cognitive Psychology Section Award from the British Psychological Society in 2013 and a Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2006. He was elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in 2009, made Fellow of the Psychonomic Society in 2013, and elected Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society in 2017.

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