I Speak, Therefore I Am: Seventeen Thoughts About Language

Paperback | July 5, 2016

byAndrea MoroTranslated byIan Roberts

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There are no men so dull and stupid, not even idiots, as to be incapable of joining together different words, and thereby constructing a declaration by which to make their thoughts understood.... On the other hand, there is no other animal, however perfect or happily circumstanced which can do the like.-Descartes

Language is more like a snowflake than a giraffe's neck. Its specific properties are determined by laws of nature, they have not developed through the accumulation of historical accidents.-Noam Chomsky

In I Speak, Therefore I Am, the Italian linguist and neuroscientist Andrea Moro composes an album of his favorite quotations from the history of linguistics, beginning with the Book of Genesis and the power of naming and concluding with Noam Chomsky's metaphor that language is a snowflake. Moro's seventeen linguistic thoughts and his commentary on them display the humanness of language: our need to name and interpret this world and create imaginary ones, to express and understand ourselves. This book is sure to delight anyone who enjoys the ineffable paradox that is human language.

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There are no men so dull and stupid, not even idiots, as to be incapable of joining together different words, and thereby constructing a declaration by which to make their thoughts understood.... On the other hand, there is no other animal, however perfect or happily circumstanced which can do the like.-DescartesLanguage is more like ...

Andrea Moro is professor of general linguistics at the Scuola Universitaria Superiore (IUSS) in Pavia, Italy. His work has been published in Nature Neuroscience, Linguistic Inquiry, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and his books include The Raising of Predicates (1997), Dynamic Antisymmetry (2000), The Equilibrium ...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:96 pages, 7 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:July 5, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231177410

ISBN - 13:9780231177412

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Table of Contents

Preface: Choice, Then Order, Then Chance, Finally Only Light1. God2. Plato3. Aristotle4. Marcus Terentius Varro5. Roger Bacon6. Descartes7. Antoine Arnauld and Claude Lancelot8. Sir William Jones9. Hermann Osthoff and E. Karl Brugmann10. Ferdinand de Saussure11. Bertrand Russell12. Martin Joos13. Roman Jakobson14. Joseph Greenberg15. Eric H. Lenneberg16. Niels Jerne17. Noam ChomskyFinalePostscriptAcknowledgmentsNotesBibliography

Editorial Reviews

The author manages the considerable feat of making insightful remarks about a wide variety of figures in a very short space.