Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language ChangeSelfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change

Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language Change

Paperback | October 1, 2009

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This new perspective on language change looks at a number of developments in the history of sounds and words and explains them in terms of Darwin's evolutionary theory. Nikolaus Ritt demonstrates 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 occur. Challenging established models of linguistic competence, Ritt's controversial approach will stimulate debate among evolutionary biologists, cognitive scientists and linguists.
Title:Selfish Sounds and Linguistic Evolution: A Darwinian Approach to Language ChangeFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:344 pages, 9.02 × 5.98 × 0.79 inShipping dimensions:9.02 × 5.98 × 0.79 inPublished:October 1, 2009Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521120632

ISBN - 13:9780521120630

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. The historical perspective; 3. Approaching 'language change'; 4. The Darwinian approach; 5. Generalising Darwinism; 6. Towards an evolutionary theory of language; 7. What does all this imply for the study of language change?; 8. How to live with feet, if one happens to be a morph-meme; 9. The prosodic evolution of English word forms or the great trochaic conspiracy; 10. Conclusion.

Editorial Reviews

"...thought-provoking. Whatever one thinks of the memetic approach to nonbiological change, it has powerful advocates (not only Dawkins but also Dennett) and is generating a considerable body of research. Anyone interested in the application of memetics or evolutionary theory to language will profit from this book, whether or not they are persuaded by Ritt's advocacy." - Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy, University of Canterbury