The Boundaries of Babel. The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages

The Boundaries of Babel The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages In The Boundaries of Babel Andrea Moro tells the story of an encounter between two cultures contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences The study of language within a biologi

  • Title: The Boundaries of Babel. The Brain and the Enigma of Impossible Languages
  • Author: Andrea Moro
  • ISBN: 9780262134989
  • Page: 394
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro tells the story of an encounter between two cultures contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences The study of language within a biological context has been ongoing for than fifty years The development of neuroimaging technology offers new opportunities to enrich the biolinguistic perspective and eIn The Boundaries of Babel, Andrea Moro tells the story of an encounter between two cultures contemporary theoretical linguistics and the cognitive neurosciences The study of language within a biological context has been ongoing for than fifty years The development of neuroimaging technology offers new opportunities to enrich the biolinguistic perspective and extend it beyond an abstract framework for inquiry As a leading theoretical linguist in the generative tradition and also a cognitive scientist schooled in the new imaging technology, Moro is uniquely equipped to explore this.Moro examines what he calls the hidden revolution in contemporary science the discovery that the number of possible grammars is not infinite and that their number is biologically limited This radical but little discussed change in the way we look at language, he claims, will require us to rethink not just the fundamentals of linguistics and neurosciences but also our view of the human mind Moro searches for neurobiological correlates of the boundaries of Babel the constraints on the apparent chaotic variation in human languages by using an original experimental design based on artificial languages He offers a critical overview of some of the fundamental results from linguistics over the last fifty years, in particular regarding syntax, then uses these essential aspects of language to examine two neuroimaging experiments in which he took part He describes the two neuroimaging techniques used positron emission topography, or PET, and functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI , but makes it clear that techniques and machines do not provide interesting data without a sound theoretical framework Finally, he discusses some speculative aspects of modern research in biolinguistics regarding the impact of the linear structure of linguistics expression on grammar, and generally, some core aspects of language acquisition, genetics, and evolution.

    995 Comment

    • Brent Woo says:

      Highly recommended for any neuropsychologist or linguist wanting to learn about the other field. A highly-readable contribution to the intersection of these two fields.I foolishly came in expecting a straightforward answer to "what are the impossible languages". In a lesser book you would get a laundry list of "no language has tense on conjunctions" or "almost no language has OSV word order". In this challenging book, you get an introduction to the architecture of the brain, and a crash course i [...]

    • Alexis says:

      Finished just in time for the new year. :P Totally arbitrary, but it's good. For anyone reading this in the future: It should absolutely not take you 3+ months to read this book. It is actually pretty short (about 220 pages), but it is fairly dense. The author does a great job of explaining things in a simple, straightforward manner, even complex topics. The first section is a review of the field of linguistics and its subfields as well as a look at some of the ways in which human language is un [...]

    • Dave Groff says:

      Interesting analysis of points of convergence between theoretical linguistics and recent developments in research on the neurobiology of language acquisition/use. Extremely dense but clearly elucidated, this deceptively slim volume should be of interest to anyone concerned with language acquisition. Not to be undertaken casually, though.

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