The Biolinguistic Enterprise: New Perspectives on the Evolution and Nature of the Human Language Faculty

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Anna Maria Di Sciullo, Cedric Boeckx
OUP Oxford, Mar 17, 2011 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 576 pages
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This book, by leading scholars, represents some of the main work in progress in biolinguistics. It offers fresh perspectives on language evolution and variation, new developments in theoretical linguistics, and insights on the relations between variation in language and variation in biology. The authors address the Darwinian questions on the origin and evolution of language from a minimalist perspective, and provide elegant solutions to the evolutionary gap between human language and communication in all other organisms. They consider language variation in the context of current biological approaches to species diversity - the 'evo-devo revolution' - which bring to light deep homologies between organisms. In dispensing with the classical notion of syntactic parameters, the authors argue that language variation, like biodiversity, is the result of experience and thus not a part of the language faculty in the narrow sense. They also examine the nature of this core language faculty, the primary categories with which it is concerned, the operations it performs, the syntactic constraints it poses on semantic interpretation and the role of phases in bridging the gap between brain and syntax. Written in language accessible to a wide audience, The Biolinguistic Enterprise will appeal to scholars and students of linguistics, cognitive science, biology, and natural language processing.
 

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About the author (2011)

Anna Maria Di Sciullo is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Quebec in Montreal and the director of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Interface Asymmetries. She held visiting positions at MIT and at the University of Venice. She is the author of Asymmetry in Morphology (2005), UG and External Systems (2005), Asymmetry in Grammar (2003), Projections and Interface Conditions: Essays on Modularity (1997), and co-authored with Edwin Williams On the Definition of Word (1987). She is the founder of the International Network on Biolinguistics. Cedric Boeckx is Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies (ICREA), and a member of the Center for Theoretical Linguistics at the Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona. Most recently he was Associate Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University. He is the author of Islands and Chains (2003), Linguistic Minimalism (2006), Understanding Minimalist Syntax (2007), Bare Syntax (2008), and Language in Cognition (2009); and the founding co-editor, with Kleanthes K. Grohmann, of the Open Access journal Biolinguistics.

Anna Maria Di Sciullo is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Quebec in Montreal and the director of the Major Collaborative Research Initiative on Interface Asymmetries. She held visiting positions at MIT and at the University of Venice. She is the author of Asymmetry in Morphology (2005), UG and External Systems (2005), Asymmetry in Grammar (2003), Projections and Interface Conditions: Essays on Modularity (1997), and co-authored with Edwin Williams On the Definition of Word (1987). She is the founder of the International Network on Biolinguistics. Cedric Boeckx is Research Professor at the Catalan Institute for Advanced Studies (ICREA), and a member of the Center for Theoretical Linguistics at the Universitat AutÚnoma de Barcelona. Most recently he was Associate Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University. He is the author of Islands and Chains (2003), Linguistic Minimalism (2006), Understanding Minimalist Syntax (2007), Bare Syntax (2008), and Language in Cognition (2009); and the founding co-editor, with Kleanthes K. Grohmann, of the Open Access journal Biolinguistics.

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