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The Ascent of Babel: An Exploration of Language, Mind, and Understanding Paperback – 6 May 1999

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; New Ed edition (6 May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198523777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198523772
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 1.3 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,013,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

... fascinating... an extraordinarily accessible introduction to psycholinguistics, equally valuable to students of the subject, to linguists, psychologists and the general reader. Altmann's use of humorous examples makes it a pleasure to read. (New Scientist)

Using language fills most of our day, most of our life. Gerry Altmann seduces us with a surprisingly light touch in a witty, refreshing account of the intricacies of this most human of all skills. its feats and its failures. It is a masterful, state-of-the-art reflection of psycholinguistic science. (Willem Levelt, Max Planck Institute)

Synopsis

Language is one of the faculties that sets humans apart from animals, the crucial thing which makes our complex social interactions possible. The Ascent of Babel explores the ways in which the mind produces and understands language: the ways in which the sounds of language evoke meaning, and the ways in which the desire to communicate causes us to produce those sounds to begin with. The 'ascent' symbolises different things: the progression from sound to meaning, the ascent that we each undergo, from birth onwards, as we learn our mother tongue, and the quest to understand the mental processes which underlie our use of language. Gerry Altmann leads the reader on this ascent - a fascinating tour which takes us from babies learning to say words to the production of spoken and written language, the effects of brain damage on language, and the ways in which computer simulations of interconnecting nerve cells can learn language. The Ascent of Babel is a journey of discovery, written in an engaging and witty style, at the end of which it becomes clear that Babel's summit - the secret of language - may actually lie at its foundations, where babies play and language is learned.

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1 customer review

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1 November 2013
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
Alice
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Ascent of Babel: An Exploration of Language, Mind and Understanding
23 September 2013 - Published on Amazon.com
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Leonard Dobrzynski
3.0 out of 5 starsThree Stars
25 November 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
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algo41
4.0 out of 5 starsVery good, but might be a little dated.
12 September 2004 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful.
Michelle J. Boese
3.0 out of 5 starsA good book, but could use some tweaking.
15 April 2000 - Published on Amazon.com
8 people found this helpful.