I-Language introduces the uninitiated to linguistics as cognitive science. In an engaging, down-to-earth style Daniela Isac and Charles Reiss give a crystal-clear demonstration of the application of the scientific method in linguistic theory. Their presentation of the research program inspired by Noam Chomsky shows how the focus of theory and research in linguistics shifted from treating language as a disembodied, human-external entity to cognitive biolinguistics - the study of language as a human cognitive system embedded within the mind/brain of each individual. The recurring theme of equivalence classes in linguistic computation ties together the presentation of material from phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. The same theme is used to help students understand the place of linguistics in the broader context of the cognitive sciences, by drawing on examples from vision, audition and even animal cognition. This textbook is unique in its integration of empirical issues of linguistic analysis, engagement with philosophical questions that arise in the study of language, and treatment of the history of the field.
Topics ranging from allophony to reduplication, ergativity, and negative polarity are invoked to show the implications of findings in cognitive biolinguistics for philosophical issues like reference, the mind-body problem, and nature-nurture debates. The well-tested material in the book is appropriate for a variety of audiences, from large introductory courses in linguistics to graduate seminars in cognitive science or philosophy of mind. It contains numerous exercises and guides for further reading as well as ideas for student projects. A companion website with guidance for instructors and answers to the exercises features a series of pdf slide presentations to accompany the teaching of each topic. This fully revised and updated second edition includes additional exercises and expanded discussions on topics such as language and culture, philosophy, and rationalist explorations of language and mind.
Daniela Isac is Professor of Linguistics at Concordia University. She has taught at the University of Bucharest and held research fellowships at the universities of Oxford and Quebec. Her published work includes articles in Revue Roumaine de Linguistique and Linguistic Inquiry. Charles Reiss is Professor of Linguistics at Concordia University, Montreal, co-editor with Gillian Ramchand of The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces (OUP 2007), and co-author with Mark Hale of The Phonological Enterprise (OUP 2008).
PART I: THE OBJECT OF INQUIRY; PART II: LINGUISTIC REPRESENTATION AND COMPUTATION; PART III: UNIVERSAL GRAMMAR; PART IV: IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS