Language Acquisition, Change and Emergence—Essays in Evolutionary Linguistics

Author / Editor
In stock
Add to Wish List
Evolution of language has evolved at multiple levels—from changes in the cognitive processes by which language is acquired in the individual, to language change by diffusion of acquired linguistic features across populations of individuals, to the emergence of linguistic features over phylogenetic time scales. Evolution of language at each of these levels interacts with that at each other level.

This volume is a collection of essays by noted researchers from diverse fields that deals with a broad spectrum of issues in the study of language evolution. The principle topics addressed here include:

  • the genetic and cognitive bases for the phylogenetic emergence of language;

  • several distinct accounts of the underlying cognitive processes by which children learn to acquire language;

  • a critique of the methods employed by historical linguists in the last century;

  • the modeling of language evolution using mathematical and computational techniques;

  • discussions on the complexity of language.

Errata for the book
Chap. 13
Pub. Date
Jul 1, 2005
552 pages
152 x 229 mm

1.   Introduction
Part 1 — Language Emergence
2.   Speech and language — A human trait defined by molecular
3.   Conceptual complexity and the brain: Understanding language
4.   The emergence of grammar from perspective 
5.   Polygenesis of linguistic strategies: A scenario for the emergence of
Part 2 — Language Acquisition
6.   Multiple-cue integration in language acquisition: A connectionist
      model of speech segmentation and rule-like behavior 
7.   Unsupervised lexical learning as inductive inference via compression
8.   The origin of linguistic irregularity
Part 3 — Language Change
9.   The language organism: The Leiden theory of language evolution 
10. Taxonomy, typology and historical linguistics 
11. Modeling language evolution

Part 4 — Language and Complexity
12. Language and complexity
13. Language acquisition as a complex adaptive system
14. How many meanings does a word have? Meaning estimation in 
     Chinese and English
15. Typology and complexity

James W. MINETT is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Electronic Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include electroencephalography (EEG), language and the brain, the computational modeling of language emergence, change and death, and the development of quantitative methods for historical linguistics. William S-Y. WANG is Wei Lun Research Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong based in the Department of Electronic Engineering, with affiliations to the Center for East Asian Studies, the Department of Translation, and the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages. He is an Academician of the Academia Sinica (Taiwan). He has published widely for both technical and general readerships, including articles in American Scientist, Nature, Scientific American, as well as in many encyclopedias. He has long been involved in evolutionary studies of language from a multi-disciplinary perspective, particularly the biological and computer sciences.