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The Language Myth: Why Language Is Not an Instinct Paperback – 22 Sep 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (22 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107619750
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107619753
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Vyvyan Evans is Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University, UK. His research relates to Cognitive Linguistics, an approach to language and mind which places central importance on meaning, the role of cognition and the embodiment of experience. He specialises in cognitive semantics, particularly knowledge representation, lexical structure, the relationship between lexical structure and knowledge representation, and figurative language and abstract thought. His research has focused on investigating spatial and temporal language and cognition, and the nature of the linguistic and conceptual resources that we as humans marshal in service of meaning construction. For further details see his website: www.vyvevans.net

Product Description

Review

'A much-needed, comprehensive critique of universal grammar. Vyvyan Evans builds a compelling case that will be difficult to refute.' David Crystal, author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language

'Evans' rebuttal of Chomsky's universal grammar from the perspective of cognitive linguistics provides an excellent antidote to popular textbooks where it is assumed that the Chomskyan approach to linguistic theory (in one avatar or another) has somehow been vindicated once and for all.' Michael Fortescue, Professor Emeritus, University of Copenhagen

'The Language Myth builds a compelling case that there is no innate universal grammar. Evans's work is a welcome contribution to our understanding of the origin, nature, and use of human language.' Daniel L. Everett, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Bentley University

'Highly recommended.' Seizi Iwata, Kansai University

'Is the way we think about language on the cusp of a revolution? After reading The Language Myth it certainly looks as if a major shift is in progress, one that will open people's minds to liberating new ways of thinking about language.' New Scientist

'Voluminous … completely persuasive.' Fortean Times

Book Description

Language is central to our lives, the cultural tool that arguably sets us apart from other species. Some scientists have argued that language is innate, a type of unique human 'instinct' pre-programmed in us from birth. In this book, Evans argues that this received wisdom is, in fact, a myth.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wildcat on 12 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This author takes the view that human language has evolved from animal sounds and is acquired only by listening and practice. It is easier to read than "The Language Instinct", as it uses larger type and does not try to cram in too much material.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By D. Malt on 17 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A clear and persuasive case against Universal Grammar, sometimes let down by the awkward, sub-Benny Hill examples. With proper corpus examples and less cheese this would've been an excellent book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Johnn Dwyer on 28 May 2015
Format: Paperback
A timely book - and hopefully not the last one - which takes on the scientifically untenable orthodoxy of "universal grammar". "UG" is based on the alluring philosophies of Plato and Descartes, and Chomsky is without doubt a rhetorical genius, but the damage his work has done to the study of language is only now starting to become clear. Here's hoping that many more - and more detailed - books of this nature will be published in years to come.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David Adger on 12 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
An embarrassing hodge-podge of misunderstandings and misrepresentation backed up by out of context quotations and out of date discussions. It's interesting that in order to mount an attack on the positions Evans disagrees with, he has to caricature them.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Higgins on 10 Jun. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Always good to hear the Universal Grammar/Language Instinct orthodoxy challenged. But the job was done more thoroughly, indeed much better, by Geoffrey Sampson in his 2005 book The Language Instinct Debate which this author seems to ignore almost completely. Evans does have access to some recent research in neurology, but that is the only thing that makes this book worth reading.
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