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Foundations of Language


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Table of Contents

PART I: PSYCHOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS ; 1. The Complexity of Linguistic Structure ; 2. Language as a Mental Phenomenon ; 3. Combinatoriality ; 4. Universal Grammar ; PART II: ARCHITECTURAL FOUNDATIONS ; 5. The Parallel Architecture ; 6. Lexical Storage Versus Online Construction ; 7. Implications for Processing ; 8. An Evolutionary Perspective on the Architecture ; PART III: SEMANTIC AND CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATIONS ; 9. Semantics as a Mentalistic Enterprise ; 10. Reference and Truth ; 11. Lexical Semantics ; 12. Phrasal Semantics ; Concluding Remarks

About the Author

Ray Jackendoff has been Professor of Linguistics at Brandeis University since 1971. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, President-Elect of the Linguistic Society of America, and a past president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology. He is the author of Semantics and Cognition: Consciousness and the Computational Mind, and (with Fred Lerdahl) A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. With pianist Valentina Sandu-Dediu, he has recently recorded a CD of modern Romanian clarinet music.


Jackendoff engages in a moderate and reasonable way with some of the critics of Chomsky's many controversial claims ... well written and provides a valuable and interesting account of the Chomskian approach to linguistics and how Jackendoff thinks this school of thought should reform itself in order to respond better to some of the intellectual challenges that it currently faces. Applied Cognitive Psychology A masterpiece ... The concluding chapters of Foundations of Language concern meaning and reference. These tightly argued sections provide a superb and in many ways novel introduction to lexical and phrasal semantics, and to the relationship between language and the world ... deserves a wide readership. Nature The importance of Foundations of Language is not in its particular proposals. It inheres rather in the fact that the book is a serious attempt to re-integrate theoretical linguistics into cognitive science. David Adger, Times Literary Supplement A book that deserves to be read and reread by anyone seriously interested in the state of the art of research on language. Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, American Scientist A sweeping survey of every major aspect of language and communication. Jackendoff fundamentally reexamines linguistic theory and our quest to understand human nature and cognition. Science News Few books really deserve the cliche "this should be read by every researcher in the field," but Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language does. I think it is the most important book in the sciences of language to have appeared in many years. Jackendoff has long had a genius for seeing both the forest and the trees, and he puts his gift to good use here in a dazzling combination of theory-building and factual integration. The result is a compelling new view of language and its place in the natural world. Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology, MIT and author of The Language of Instinct and Words and Rules

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