Foundations of Language: Brain, Meaning, Grammar, Evolution

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-0198270126
ISBN-10: 0198270127
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Jackendoff (linguistics, Brandeis Univ.) tackles the substantial tasks of assessing where Noam Chomsky's foundation of research has led linguistics and reinterpreting his theory of universal grammar. While embracing many of Chomsky's ideas, Jackendoff proposes his own overall theory of language. His well-documented discussion covers "combinatoriality" (or grammar rules) and language processing, as well as lexical and phrasal semantics. Jackendoff's inquiry draws on and complements research in neuroscience, psychology, and biological evolution. For example, he examines working and long-term memory in language production and, most important, discusses phonology, syntax, and semantics as parallel, equally productive, or generative aspects of language. Like Lyle Jenkins (Biolinguistics: Exploring the Biology of Language, Cambridge Univ., 2000), he emphasizes connections between language and biology. Lacking a glossary and a list of the numerous abbreviations, this work is scholarly in approach and hence less accessible than works like Trevor Harely's broad, updated The Psychology of Language: From Data to Theory (Psychology Pr., 2001. 2d ed.). It is nevertheless a significant piece of scholarship and is highly recommended for academic libraries. Marianne Orme, Des Plaines P.L., IL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"A sweeping survey of every major aspect of language and communication ... He counters the belief that language stems from syntactic structure alone."--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 he
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 Instinct and
Words and Rules

"A masterpiece.... The book as a whole deserves a wide readership."--Nature

"Jackendoff is certainly right in thinking that the question of why language has come to be as it is is one that linguists cannot permanently ignore... His breadth of knowledge and soundness of judgment, along with just the right amount of adventurousness, make for a book that deserves to be read
and reread by anyone seriously interested in the state of the art of research on language."--American Scientist

"Jackendoff drastically overhauls linguistic theory...providing for a natural (re-)integration with psycholinguistics and the other sister sciences. Foundations of Language is a monumental scholarly achievement, which should be obligatory reading for any psycholinguist."--William J.M. Levelt, Max
Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

"Ray Jackendoff's Foundations of Language is a masterpiece. If Ray didn't have decades of research time ahead of him, I would call it the culmination of his life's work. The book deserves to be the reference point for all future theorizing about the language faculty and its
interconnections."--Frederick J. Newmeyer, Professor and Vice-President/President Elect Linguistic Society of America; Department of Linguistics, University of Washington, Seattle

"Ray Jackendoff, one of the most influential researchers in cognitive science today, offers a clear and engaging analysis of many of the raging controversies in the language sciences. The book offers a point of entry into these issues for neuroscientists, psycholinguists, and philosophers of
language as well as linguists from various generative and cognative backgrounds. You may not agree with everything he says, but you are bound to appreciate the clarity, precision, depth of analysis, breadth of knowledge and impressive range of data he brings to the debate."--Adele Goldberg,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Oxford University Press (March 28, 2002)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 506 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0198270127
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0198270126
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.19 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.6 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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Reviewed in the United States on November 25, 2011
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Reviewed in the United States on May 2, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2004
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Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2003
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Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2002
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr Markey
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense driven grammar
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for post-Chomskyans!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 19, 2002
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29 people found this helpful
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Andrew Biemiller
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on May 23, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars 面白い!!
Reviewed in Japan on January 19, 2005
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7 people found this helpful
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