How the Brain Evolved Language

How the Brain Evolved Language

3.25 (8 ratings by Goodreads)
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Recent developments in our understanding of the way the brain works have altered dramatically our view of how it is possible for us to learn and use language - a feat that is still enormously beyond the capacity of any computer in existence or even on the drawing board. Donald Loritz describes the history of the discovery that language is controlled by the brain, and thus somehow located in it, and the subsequent efforts of scientists in many areas - linguistics, psychology, neurology, computer science, and the new field at their intersection, cognitive science - to understand what language is, how the brain "contains" it, and how both language and this complex brain could have evolved. While one can easily find computer-generated cross-sectioned pictures of the brain and its use of language, such pictures do not get down to the level of networks of individual brain cells (neurons), and how such networks are actually capable of learning and storing information like the sounds and meanings of words and the patterns of understandable sentences. Loritz explains the basic properties of the brain and neuron networks, using lay language or terms that he carefully teaches the reader, so that these mysterious processes of neural information storage and access can be understood. He does so using a mathematical model of brain function called Adaptive Resonance Theory, a theory developed by Stephen Grossberg, and applying this theory to what we know about human language - not language as grammarians conceive it, but language as it is really spoken and comprehended. He takes this information about language from recent well-documented research on child language, the signed language of the deaf, and the language of people with brain damage, as well sa from normal speakers. Loritz's book is certain to provoke controversy, as it contradicts many of the ideas propounded by another very popular writer on brain and language, Steven Pinker. Unlike Pinker, Loritz argues that language has little if any innate component, and is something that our brains are well-equipped to more

Product details

  • Hardback | 236 pages
  • 161.5 x 238 x 23.6mm | 572.3g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 2 plates, 16 halftones, numerous line figures
  • 019511874X
  • 9780195118742
  • 2,019,156

Review quote

I find the author's scholarship sound and intriguing ... this unusual and integrative approach makes a contribution. * Theresa Hernandez, Psychology, University of Colorado * Controversial, anti-establishment, readably swift, often funny, sometimes charming, and interdisciplinary in an area where there is a lot of earnest but still rudimentary bridge building going on. * Lise Menn, Department of Linguistics, University of Colorado * easy and pleasant to read * Stephanie Clarke, European Neurology, 2001 *show more

Table of contents

1. Thought and Language ; 2. Jones' Theory of Evolution ; 3. The Communicating Cell ; 4. The Society of Brain ; 5. Adaptice Resonance ; 6. Speech and Hearing ; 7. Speech Perception ; 8. One, Two, Three ; 9. Romeo and Juliet ; 10. Null Movement ; 11. Truth and Consequences ; 12. What if Language is Learned by Brain Cells? ; Notes ; Bibliography ; Indexshow more

Rating details

8 ratings
3.25 out of 5 stars
5 12% (1)
4 25% (2)
3 38% (3)
2 25% (2)
1 0% (0)
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