Non-Fiction Books:

Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution

A Darwinian Approach to Language Change

Format

Hardback

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Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution by Nikolaus Ritt
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Description

This book takes an exciting new perspective on language change, by explaining it in terms of Darwin's evolutionary theory. Looking at a number of developments in the history of sounds and words, Nikolaus Ritt shows how the constituents of language can be regarded as mental patterns, or 'memes', which copy themselves from one brain to another when communication and language acquisition take place. Memes are both stable in that they transmit faithfully from brain to brain, and active in that their success at replicating depends upon their own properties. Ritt uses this controversial approach to challenge established models of linguistic competence, in which speakers acquire, use, and shape language. In Darwinian terms, language evolution is something that happens to, rather than through, speakers, and the interests of linguistic constituents matter more than those of their human 'hosts'. This book will stimulate debate among evolutionary biologists, cognitive scientists and linguists alike.

Author Biography

Nikolaus Ritt is Professor and Head of the English Department at Vienna University.
Release date NZ
May 27th, 2004
Author
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
Imprint
Cambridge University Press
Pages
342
Dimensions
152x228x22
ISBN-13
9780521826716
Product ID
1772274

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